The Project Gutenberg eBook of The History of Antiquity, Vol. 3 (of 6)

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: The History of Antiquity, Vol. 3 (of 6)

Author: Max Duncker

Translator: Evelyn Abbott

Release date: September 25, 2012 [eBook #40864]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Adrian Mastronardi and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)


TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: Footnotes have been renumbered and moved to the end of the chapters in this HTML version. Obvious errors in punctuation have been silently corrected. Other than that, printer's inconsistencies in spelling, hyphenation, and ligature usage have been retained.














Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen.







[Pg 1]



In the course of the ninth century B.C. the power of Assyria had made considerable progress. In addition to the ancient dependencies on the upper Zab and the upper Tigris, in Armenia and Mesopotamia, the principalities and cities on the middle Euphrates had been reduced, the region of the Amanus had been won. Cilicia had been trodden by Assyrian armies, Damascus was humbled, Syria had felt the weight of the arms of Assyria in a number of campaigns; the kingdom of Israel and the cities of the Phenicians had repeatedly brought their tribute to the warlike princes of Nineveh; at length even the cities of the Philistines and the Edomites could not escape a similar payment. Tiglath Pilesar I. had seen the great sea of the West, the Mediterranean; three centuries later Bin-nirar III. received the tribute of all the harbour cities of the Syrian coast, the great centres of trade on this sea. Nor was it to the West only that the power of the Assyrians advanced. Shalmanesar II. and Bin-nirar III. gained the supremacy over Babylon, the ancient mother-country of Assyria. Each offered sacrifices at Babylon, Borsippa, and Kutha;[Pg 2] while to the North-west the power of Assyria extended beyond Media as far as the shores of the Caspian Sea.

The successors of Bin-nirar III. were not able to sustain their power at this height. Shalmanesar III. (781-771 B.C.) had again to fight against Damascus and Hadrach (in the neighbourhood of Damascus[1]); in his short reign of ten years he marched six times against the land of Ararat (Urarti). Assur-danil III. (771-753 B.C.), the successor of Shalmanesar III., also fought against Hadrach and Arpad (now Tel Erfad, near Hamath[2]). He had, moreover, to suppress disturbances which had broken out on the upper Zab in Arrapachitis (Arapha), and in the land of Guzan (Gauzanitis) on the Chaboras. In the reign of Assur-nirar II. (753-745 B.C.) there were risings in Assyria, even in Chalah, the metropolis.[3] But the prince who succeeded Assur-nirar II. on the throne of Assyria, Tiglath Pilesar II., was able not merely to raise the kingdom to the position which it had occupied under Shalmanesar II. and Bin-nirar III., but to make it a predominant power over a still wider circuit.

The armies of Shalmanesar II. had invaded Media; among the tribute brought to him by the land of Mushri we found camels with two humps, buffaloes, (yaks) and elephants. After a successful campaign against Babylon, which he undertook immediately after his accession, Tiglath Pilesar led his army to the table-land of Iran, and forced his way to the East.[4][Pg 3] A tablet discovered at Chalah, which gives a summary of Tiglath Pilesar's achievements from the first to the seventeenth year of his reign, mentions the districts subjugated in this direction. It is a long list, beginning with the land of Namri.[5] The districts of Parsua, Zikruti, Nisaa, and Arakuttu are mentioned,[6] and the enumeration concludes with districts in the wilds of Media.[7] The king defeated the numerous warriors of this region; "60,500 of their people, children, horses, asses, mules, oxen, and sheep without number I carried away."[8] Such are the words of the inscription, which proceeds: "I took possession of the land of Namri anew, and the land of Parsua." With these regions thirteen districts already mentioned are again enumerated. "Zikruti in rugged Media I added to the land of Assyria; the cities I built up anew; in them I placed warriors of Asshur, my lord, and people whom my hand had taken captive. I received the tribute of Media, of Ellip, and all the princes of the mountains to Bikni; horses, asses, mules, oxen, sheep without number. My general, Assurdainani, I sent into rugged Media towards the rising of the sun. He brought back 5000 horses, oxen, sheep without number."[9]

According to this inscription Tiglath Pilesar, on his[Pg 4] first campaign against Iran, which we may place, on the authority of the list of rulers, in the year 745 or 744 B.C.,[10] though he failed to reach Bactria and the Indus, forced his way into the eastern regions of Iran as far as the further shore of lake Hamun. The meaning of the names Nisaa, Zikruti, and Arakuttu is hardly doubtful. Nisaa must denote the region or district of Nisæa in the east of Media. Zikruti,[11] which is mentioned together with Nisæa, may be the name of the Sagartians of Herodotus, the Açagarta of the inscriptions of the Achæmenids, a race mentioned by Herodotus among the tribes of the Persians; they were settled or wandered to the east of the latter. Arakuttu gives us the Semitic form of the name of the Harauvati of the Persian inscriptions, the Haravaïti of the Avesta, the Arachoti of the Greeks. The Arachoti were settled in the river-valley of the Arachotus (now Arghandab), which falls into lake Hamun, to the east of the river. But Tiglath Pilesar did not maintain his supremacy on the table-land of Iran to this extent. In the enumeration of the conquered districts of the second campaign the names Nisaa and Arakuttu are wanting, while Zikruti, Parsua, and Madai (Media), and the tribute of Media, which must therefore have been obtained by a new campaign of the general of Tiglath Pilesar, are brought into prominence. The second campaign of the king was therefore limited to the western regions of Iran. At a later time, in the ninth year of his reign (737 B.C.), he once more marched into the land of Media.[12] A second inscription says, in summary, that Tiglath Pilesar[Pg 5] imposed tribute on the "land of Parsua" and the "city of Zikruti," which was dependent on the land of the Medes, and on the princes of the land of Media as far as the land of Bikni.[13]

When Tiglath Pilesar ascended the throne Nabonassar (747-734 B.C.) had been king of Babylon for two years, according to the canon of Ptolemy. Babylonia no longer possessed the extent of country once given to her by Hammurabi, and which we may ascribe to her during the numerous wars carried on with Assyria from the middle of the fifteenth century, and even at the date of Shalmanesar II. and Bin-nirar III. Either through the preponderance which Assyria had obtained over Babylon after the middle of the ninth century, or from other causes, we find several independent principalities on the lower course of the Euphrates after the middle of the eighth century; the Assyrian inscriptions mention as such, Bit Sahalla, Bit Silan, Bit Dakkur, Bit Amukan, and Bit Yakin at the mouth of the Euphrates, on the shore of the Persian Gulf. So far as we can discover from the monuments, Tiglath Pilesar was at war with Babylonia in the very first year of his reign.[14] Dur Kurigalzu, the old border fortress of Babylon against Assyria, Sippara, and other cities of the land of Kardunias on the river or canal Ukni, are mentioned, and the priests of Bit Saggatu or Bit Zida, i. e. of the chief temples of Babylon and Borsippa, together with the priest of Nergal, who bring gifts to Tiglath Pilesar; we hear of 10 talents of gold, and 1000 talents of silver, received by Tiglath Pilesar in the first year of his reign.[15] In the summary of his achievements (on the tablet of Chalah) the king says that he has taken Dur Kurigalzu, that he has offered[Pg 6] sacrifice at Sippara, Nipur, Babylon, Borsippa, Kutha, and Ur, that in the beginning of his reign he ruled from Dur Kurigalzu to Nipur.[16] The king of Babylon, against whom he fought and whom he compelled to open the gates of his fortresses and of Babylon, is not mentioned by Tiglath Pilesar. We must assume, from the canon of Ptolemy, that it was Nabonassar who bowed himself before the weight of the arms of Assyria. Yet the obedience of Babylon was not secured. Fragments of the detailed annals of Tiglath Pilesar inform us that his general again fought against the Babylonians, that he himself again conquered a city which the Babylonians had taken, that in the region of Tel Assur he sacrificed to Merodach the god of Tel Assur.[17] An inscription of Chalah narrates that Tiglath Pilesar laid waste Bit Amukan and Bit Sahalla, and took their kings Nabu-sabzi and Zakiru prisoners; that he besieged king Kinziru in Sapiya (Sape), his capital, and added to Assyria Pillutu on the border of Assyria and Elam; that he received the tributes of the kings of the Chaldæans, of Balasu, the son of Dakkuri, of Nadin of Larrak, and Merodach Baladan, the son of Yakin, the king of the sea coast.[18] The large tablet tells us more at length. "Pillutu on the borders of Elam I added to Assyria; the Chaldæans I removed from thence and placed in the midst of Assyria. The warriors of Nabu-sabzi, the son of Silani, I defeated under the walls of his city of Sarrapani, and I crucified him before the great gate of his city. Five thousand five hundred of his people I took captive; his sons, his daughters, his gods I carried away: his city and the[Pg 7] cities round about it I destroyed and burnt. Zakiru, the son of Sahalli, and his chieftains I captured; I put them in irons and brought them to Assyria; 5400 of the people of Bit Sahalla I captured; I laid waste all the districts of Bit Sahalla and united them to Assyria. The numerous army of Kinziru, the son of Amukan, I defeated before the great gate of his city, Sapiya; I besieged him and overthrew all his cities. Bit Silan, Bit Amukan, Bit Sahalla, I have laid waste throughout their whole extent; I received the tribute of Balasu, the son of Dakkuri, and of Nadin of Larrak; Merodach Baladan, the son of Yakin, the king of the sea-coast, was overcome by the fear of Asshur, my lord: he came to Sapiya and kissed my feet, and I received his tribute."[19]

The canon of Ptolemy represents Nadius as succeeding Nabonassar of Babylon in the year 733 B.C. Is the Nabu-sabzi of Bit Silan whom Tiglath Pilesar defeats near the city of Sarrapani the king Nadius of the canon; and ought his name to be altered in the canon to Nabius? According to the canon Nadius reigned only two years (733, 732 B.C.); the campaign of Tiglath Pilesar, which ended in the conquest and execution of Nabu-sabzi, must therefore have taken place in the year 732 B.C. After the conquest of Nabu-sabzi, as the inscriptions told us, Tiglath Pilesar subjugates Kinziru of Bit Amukan, when he had besieged Sapiya, his capital; in this city he receives the homage of Merodach Baladan. The list of rulers places the campaign against Sapiya in the year 731 B.C. In the canon of Ptolemy, Nadius is succeeded by a joint rule: from the year 731 to 727 B.C. Chinzirus and Porus reign over Babylon. Is the Kinziru of Bit Amukan the Chinzirus of the canon?[Pg 8]

After the subjugation of Merodach Baladan, king of the sea-coast, i. e. the coast of the Persian Gulf, Tiglath Pilesar's dominion extended over the whole region of the Euphrates. He assures us that "he laid waste the land of Chaldæa throughout its whole extent," and "received tribute from all the Chaldæans;" that "he possessed the whole land of Kardunias (Babylonia), and was lord over it;"[20] and with perfect truth, for an inscription of king Sargon tells us, that Bit Amukan, Bit Dakkur, Bit Silan, Bit Sahalla, Bit Yakin form the whole of the land of the Chaldæans.[21] Tiglath Pilesar calls himself "king of Asshur, king of Babylon, king of Sumir and Accad;" he claims the full title of the kings of Babylon. The names of the principalities of Chaldæa are obviously taken from their dynasties. Nabu-sabzi is called the son of Silan, and his land Bit Silan; Merodach Baladan is the son of Yakin, and his land is Bit Yakin. Shalmanesar II., as we saw (Vol. II. p. 239), spoke of Israel as Bit Omri, i. e. the house of Omri. The Chinzirus of the canon of Ptolemy enables us to assume that Tiglath Pilesar after the defeat of Kinziru of Bit Amukan placed this Kinziru as a vassal-king or viceroy over Babylon, a proceeding which recurs often enough in the proceedings of the kings of Asshur towards conquered principalities and lands.

The canon of Ptolemy does not make Chinzirus the sole king of Babylon. From 731 B.C. to 727 B.C. Chinzirus and Porus are said to have reigned together—a joint sovereignty, of which this is the only instance in the canon. Strikingly enough their two reigns end in the same year, and this, 727 B.C. is the very year in which, according to the Assyrian canon, Tiglath Pilesar's reign is brought to a close. In the excerpt from[Pg 9] Berosus' list of the kings of Babylon, given by Polyhistor, of which Eusebius has preserved some very scanty fragments, the 45 kings who reigned over Babylon for 526 years are followed by "a king of the Chaldæans, whose name was Phul."[22] If the Babylonians named Tiglath Pilesar Phul in their list of kings, and if Porus in the canon of Ptolemy is a mistake for Polus (Pul), the Babylonians, in order to conceal their dependence on Assyria, must have placed their countryman before the stranger, the vassal king before the real king in their series of rulers.

The Hebrew Scriptures tell us that Phul of Asshur marched against Israel; Menahem of Israel paid Phul a tribute of 1000 talents of silver, and the king of Assyria returned into his land. Then Ahaz of Judah sent messengers to king Tiglath Pilesar of Asshur to save him out of the hand of Rezin, king of Damascus, and Pekah, king of Israel. Pekah had put to death Pekahiah, the son of Menahem, after a reign of two years, and seated himself on the throne. Tiglath Pilesar listened to Ahaz and came and carried away a part of the Israelites to Assyria, and Hoshea set on foot a conspiracy and slew Pekah and became king in his place.[23] The inscriptions of Tiglath Pilesar mention among the princes who brought him tribute "Minihimmi (Menahem) of Samirina (Samaria),"[24] and also "Jauhazi (Ahaz) of Judah;"[25] a fragment informs us that Tiglath Pilesar reached the borders of Bit Omri, i. e. of Israel (Vol. II. p. 239). "Pakaha (Pekah) their king they had slain;" so Tiglath Pilesar continues in this fragment, "I put Husi (Hoshea) to be king over them."[26] The inscription[Pg 10] also speaks, in this place, of sending or carrying away to Assyria, but it is in such a mutilated condition that more accurate knowledge is impossible. Still it is abundantly clear from this fragment that the king of Assyria, who received tribute from Menahem of Israel and then marched against Israel when Pekah had ascended the throne, was one and the same prince, Tiglath Pilesar. We might assume a double payment of tribute on the part of Menahem, a payment to Phul and a second payment to Tiglath Pilesar, but this is met by the fact that the monuments of Assyria know no king of the name of Phul, and the continuity of the lists of Assyrian Eponyms does not allow us to insert a king of the name of Phul between Tiglath Pilesar and his predecessor Assur-nirar II. The error of the Book of Kings in ascribing the first campaign against Menahem of Israel to Phul, and the second, in support of Ahaz against Pekah of Israel, to Tiglath Pilesar, is most easily explained, if we admit the hypothesis given above,[27] that the Babylonians gave the name Phul to Tiglath Pilesar as their supreme king.

Tiglath Pilesar held the western regions of the table-land of Iran in dependence. He ruled as king over Babylonia, over the whole region of the Euphrates down to the borders of Elam and the shore of the Persian Gulf; and in the North also he led the armies of Assyria to victorious campaigns. His tablets tell us that he incorporated with Assyria the land of Nairi, i. e. the region between the upper Zab and the upper Tigris, that he defeated king Sarduarri of Ararat (Urarti), who had rebelled against him, took his camp and besieged him in his city of Turuspa; that he set up "an image of his majesty" there, and laid waste the land of Ararat[Pg 11] far and wide.[28] Afterwards Sarduarri and Sulumal of Milid (Melitene) and Kustaspi of Kummukh (Gumathene), each trusting to the power of the other, rebelled; these he defeated, and took captives to the number of 72,950 men. In the middle of the battle Sarduarri rode away: he (Tiglath Pilesar) took the seal from his neck, his neck-band, his royal chariot, and his couch, and dedicated them to Istar of Nineveh.[29] The inscriptions further inform us that Kustaspi of Kummukh, Sulumal of Milid, and Vassurmi of Tubal gave tribute to Tiglath Pilesar, and when Vassurmi was negligent in the service of Assyria and did not appear before his face, Tiglath Pilesar sent his chief captain against him and set up Chulli to be king of Tubal in Vassurmi's place.[30] The list of rulers puts the first war of Tiglath Pilesar in the year 743 B.C., the second campaign against Ararat and the princes leagued with him in the year 735 B.C.

Of the successes of Tiglath Pilesar in Syria we shall hear below. When he received the tribute of Hamath, Byblus, and Israel before the ninth year of his reign, i. e. in the year 738 B.C., Zabibieh, the queen of the Arabs, also paid tribute.[31] When he had overthrown Damascus, Israel, and the Philistines (732 B.C.), he fought against Samsieh, the queen of the Arabians, in the region of Saba,[32] as we are told in a fragment of his annals, and took from her 30,000 camels, and 20,000 oxen. In the inscriptions which sum up the achievements of the king we are told that he subjugated the Nabatu (who[Pg 12] must be sought to the south on the lower Euphrates), the Hagaranu (the Hagarites), the Pekudu (Pekod);[33] that the distant tribes of Tema (the Temanites) and Saba (the Sabæans), on the borders of the setting sun, heard of his power, and submitted to him, brought gold, silver, and camels, and kissed his feet.[34] A fragment of the annals repeats this statement; on the borders of the land of the setting sun they heard of his power and his victories and submitted to him.[35] Hence it was not only migratory tribes in the neighbourhood of Syria and the lower Euphrates, like the Pekod and Hagarites, whom Tiglath Pilesar forced to recognise his supremacy and pay tribute: his armies must have advanced from Syria and the lower Euphrates to the interior of Arabia, if the Temanites (I. 324) and the tribes of the South, "on the borders of the setting sun," i. e. the tribes of the South-west, the Sabæans, in "fear of his power and his victories," sent him tribute.

If the armies of Assyria reached no further than Deraeah in the interior of Arabia, it was still a vast stretch of country which they traversed in the eighteen years in which Tiglath Pilesar sat on the throne. Yet they also reached Lake Hamun and the land of the Arachoti in the East on the further side of the Persian Gulf. On the terrace of Chalah which supported the royal citadels Tiglath Pilesar built himself a palace to the south of the house of Shalmanesar II. It is the central palace of the explorers. The great inscription on one of the marble slabs found in the floor in the ruins tells us that he built his royal abode in the midst of Chalah for his glory; that he placed it higher above the bed of the Tigris than the palaces of his predecess[Pg 13]ors; that he adorned it with costly decorations, and placed in it the tributes of the kings of the Chatti, the princes of the Aramæans and Chaldæans, who had bowed their might at his feet[36] The inscription begins with the words, "Palace of Tiglath Pilesar the great king, the mighty king, the king of the nations, the king of Assyria, the high priest of Babylon, the king of Sumir and Accad, the king of the four quarters of the earth, the mighty warrior, who in the service of Asshur his lord has marched through the lands, swept over them like a storm, treated them as captives; the king, who, under the protection of Asshur, Samas, Merodach, the great gods, his lords, ruled from the sea of Bit Yakin as far as Bikni, and from the sea of the setting sun (i. e. the Mediterranean) as far as Muzur (Egypt)."[37] The second shorter inscription says in a similar manner: "Palace of Tiglath Pilesar the great king, the mighty king, the king of the nations, the king of Assyria, the king of Babylon, the king of Sumir and Accad, the king of the four quarters of the earth, the mighty warrior, who in the service of Asshur, his lord, has trodden to pieces like clay all who hated him, has washed them away like a flood and made them into shadows—the king who marched out under the protection of Nebo and Merodach, the great gods, and reigned from the sea of Bit Yakin to the land of Bikni, to the rising sun, and from the sea of the setting sun to Muzur, who possessed all lands from the setting to the rising and ruled over their kingdoms."[38] Of this proud palace but scanty ruins remain. One of the successors of Tiglath Pilesar, who ascended the throne of Assyria 46 years after[Pg 14] him, caused the slabs on which Tiglath Pilesar had depicted his campaigns and victories together with the explanatory inscriptions above them, to be taken away, in order to have them smoothed, and placed when filled with pictures of his own achievements in the house which he built in the south-west corner of the terrace of Chalah. This successor died during the building of his house. This is clear from the fact that slabs and inscriptions of the palace of Tiglath Pilesar, intended for the new structure, have been found partly in the remains of the old building and partly in the new structure, with the defacement partially carried out.[39]


[1] The older Zachariah mentions the land of Hadrach beside Damascus and Hamath, Zech. ix. 1, 2.

[2] Fifteen miles to the north-west of Aleppo the ruin-heaps at Tel Erfad mark the site of the ancient Arpad; Kiepert, "Z.D.M.G." 25, 665.

[3] A document has been preserved from the reign of Assur-nirar, belonging to the year 747 B.C., regarding the lease of a piece of land; Oppert et Ménant, "Docum. Juridiq." p. 151.

[4] The list of rulers represents him as marching to the stream, i. e. to the Euphrates, immediately after his accession, and afterwards to the land of Namri, i. e. to the Zagrus.

[5] G. Smith reads Zimri.

[6] Nissi in G. Smith, "Disc." p. 260, but in frag. 4 Nissa.

[7] So according to G. Smith [who reads Likruti].

[8] Ll. 29-33 in G. Smith, "Disc." p. 260; Ménant, "Annal." pp. 142, 143.

[9] Ll. 34-42, in G. Smith, "Disc." p. 261; Ménant, loc. cit. 143. The words "I possessed anew" are wanting in G. Smith; cf. Lenormant, "Z. Ægypt. Sprache," 1870, s. 48 ff. The statement about the subjugation of Bit Hamban and the regions which follow, ll. 34-37, is repeated in the inscription in Layard, pp. 17, 18, l. 17; in Ménant, loc. cit. 139. The statement about the campaign of Assurdainani is repeated in frag. 4, p. 271 in G. Smith, loc. cit.

[10] This gives 745-744 B.C.: Bildanil. To the land of Namri; cf. frag. 3 in G. Smith, "Disc." p. 269.

[11] Ménant translates, "city of Zikruti;" G. Smith's rendering does not give this description in this passage (p. 260), but on p. 271.

[12] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 279; Ménant, loc. cit. p. 146.

[13] L. 17 in Ménant, loc. cit. p. 139.

[14] Above, p. 2, note 4.

[15] Frag. 1, 2 in G. Smith, "Disc." pp. 266, 267.

[16] Ménant, loc. cit. p. 139.

[17] The list of rulers inserts a second campaign of Tiglath Pilesar to the land of the stream in the year 737 B.C.; frag. 8, 11. 18, 19, 52-55 in G. Smith, loc. cit. pp. 277, 280, 281.

[18] Ll. 12-19 in G. Smith, "Disc." pp. 255, 256.

[19] Ll. 14-28 in G. Smith, "Disc." pp. 258-260.

[20] G. Smith, loc. cit. pp. 255, 258.

[21] Oppert, "Dur Sarkayan," p. 20; Ménant, "Annal." pp. 160, 181.

[22] Vol. II. p. 27; Euseb., "Chron." 1, p. 26, ed. Schöne.

[23] 2 Kings xv. 19, 29; xvi. 7-9; 1 Chron. v. 26.

[24] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 277.

[25] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 263.

[26] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 284.

[27] It is due to E. Schrader.

[28] Frag. 4, ll. 12-23 in G. Smith, "Disc." pp. 271, 272.

[29] Frag. 5 in G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 272, 273.

[30] The large inscription, lines 57-59, 64, 65 in G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 263.

[31] Frag. 8, l. 33 in G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 279.

[32] Frag. 13, l. 3; cf. frag. 10, l. 16; frag. 12, l. 19 in G. Smith, pp. 283, 285, 286.

[33] Tablet of Chalah, l. 6 in G. Smith, p. 254; stone of Chalah, ll. 6, 8, 13, p. 254.

[34] Stone of Chalah, ll. 53-55 in G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 262.

[35] Frag. 13, loc. cit. p. 286.

[36] Ll. 67-86 in G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 264, 265.

[37] G. Smith, "Disc." ll. 1-4, p. 256, 257.

[38] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 254.

[39] The three private documents on the sale of a slave, the loan on the mortgage of a field, and the interest and security for an advance, which are placed in the time of Tiglath Pilesar III., are given in Oppert et Ménant, "Docum. Juridiq." p. 153 sqq.



[Pg 15]



The overthrow of the house of Omri had not raised the power of the kingdom of Israel. Jehu, it is true, sent tribute to Shalmanesar II. king of Assyria (842 B.C.). But in spite of this subjection to the great king on the Tigris, neither Jehu nor his son Jehoahaz was in a position to repel the attacks of the princes of Damascus, Hazael and Benhadad III.; the whole region to the East of the Jordan, the land of Gilead, had to be conceded to Damascus after the most cruel devastation of that district and of all Israel. It was the distress into which Bin-nirar III. of Asshur brought Damascus which first afforded respite to Israel in the last years of Jehoahaz, though tribute for this service also had to be paid to Assyria (803 B.C.). His successor, king Joash (798-790 B.C.) was now able to wrest from Damascus at least those cities which his father had lost, and the son of Joash, Jeroboam II. (790-749 B.C.), the fourth sovereign of the house of Jehu, succeeded in gaining the upper hand over Damascus, in completely reconquering the land of Gilead, and inflicting heavy blows on Hamath. The land which he conquered from Hamath he retained; the Books of Kings mention the brave deeds of Jeroboam II., how "he set up again the borders of Israel,[Pg 16] from the land of Hamath to the sea of the plain." During his long and powerful reign—he sat on the throne for 41 years[40]—agriculture was developed, trade became again active, and, as it seems, very lucrative. In Samaria, the metropolis, there were splendid houses, the inhabitants of which lived in magnificence and luxury.[41]

In Judah the reign of Joash, whom the high-priest Jehoiada placed on the throne in the year 837 B.C., again fully established the worship of Jehovah in opposition to the favour which his grandmother Athaliah had shown to the worship of Baal. Amaziah, the son of Joash, maintained his throne against the murderers of his father; his arms were successful against the Edomites, but failed against Israel. When he also was slain by conspirators, the people, in the year 792 B.C., raised his son Uzziah (Azariah) to the throne. Uzziah was only 16 years of age at the time of his accession, but[Pg 17] young as he was he learned well how to rule, and the length of his reign allowed him to see the fruit of his[Pg 18] labours. The Chronicles say of him: "He loved husbandry; he had husbandmen and vinedressers in the mountains, and dug many wells in the desert, for he had many cattle in the low country and in the plain."[42] Uzziah was also a brave warrior. Against the Philistines he obtained greater successes than fell to the lot of any of his predecessors, including even Saul and David, greater than those won by any of his successors. He took Gath, the prince of which David had once served; he gained Jabneh and conquered Ashdod, and destroyed the walls of this city. The loss of Gath and Ashdod limited the league of the cities of the Philis[Pg 19]tines to Ekron, Ascalon, and Gaza; Uzziah built Jewish cities in the conquered districts,[43] he forced the Ammonites to pay tribute, he completed the subjugation of the Edomites which his father Amaziah had begun, and his fame reached even to Egypt.[44] He rebuilt the harbour-city of Elath on the Red Sea, which the rebellion of the Edomites against Judah had wrested from king Jehoram about the year 845 B.C. (II. 252), placed Jews there, and apparently restored the Ophir trade of Solomon.[45] "He was marvellously helped," say the Chronicles, "till he became strong." Amid such successes Uzziah did not forget that changes would occur, that other times would come. In the second half of his reign[46] he strengthened the walls of Jerusalem with towers at the corner-gate, i. e. at the north-west corner, of the city wall, at the valley gate, and at the corner, i. e. where the wall of the upper city advances to the west, and caused "engines invented by cunning men to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks of the walls, to throw arrows and great stones withal."[47] The levy of the people was put in order; the fighting men were entered on a register; Uzziah "prepared for the whole army shields and spears, coats of mail and helmets, bows and slinging stones."[48] "And[Pg 20] Uzziah did what was right in the eyes of Jehovah as Amaziah his father had done, save that the people still sacrificed and offered incense on the high places"—so we are told in the Books of Kings. The Chronicles add that he sought God as long as the prophet Zachariah lived.[49] Afterwards he had a quarrel with the priests of the temple because he sacrificed with his own hands in the great space of the temple, the holy place (before the Holy of Holies), on the altar in that space intended for incense. David and Solomon had offered incense there before him; the priesthood intended therefore to make good their exclusive claim to every kind of sacrifice as against Uzziah.[50] Uzziah succeeded in raising Judah to the highest point of power and importance, which it reached after the defection of Israel.

Thus after severe tempests the reigns of Jeroboam II. and Uzziah brought to Israel and Judah the restoration of order, power and prosperity. The flourishing condition of agriculture and trade increased the well-being of the people, and produced profits which led the wealthy classes into a misuse of their wealth, into extravagance and luxury. This mode of life, which seldom, in the East especially, fails to accompany gains easily got, was attacked in both kingdoms by a merciless criticism. In Israel and in Judah a careless enjoyment of life was connected not unfrequently with a certain inclination towards the rites of the Syrians. From the time that the house of Jehu ruled in Israel, and Joash ascended the throne of Judah, the favourable feeling towards Syrian rites[Pg 21] had ceased, from the throne downwards. With the restoration of more active relations towards the neighbouring nations their example operated with renewed force on the wealthier classes of Israel, and among them, and afterwards no doubt among the people, admission and recognition was thus gained for the religious observances of the Syrians. As the sensual elements in the forms of the gods and the cultus of the Syrians became more marked—as the worship of the deities of procreation and birth became more licentious and debauched, in connection with the increased population, and consequent luxury and dissoluteness in the Phenician cities (II. 276), as the prostitution became more general, the service of androgynous deities more zealous—as the number of sacred servants, of companions male and female, of eunuchs and men ready to make themselves eunuchs, became larger—as this worship of lust and mutilation grew more disgusting, and the flames on the altar of Moloch rose more frequently—so much the more vigorous, in the circles of the neighbouring nations, whose national and religious life was roused, must have been the aversion and opposition to such licentious practices, to rites of so different a nature, and so strongly at variance with their own faith.

Three centuries before this time, Israel by the foundation of a monarchy had gained rest and security against her nearest neighbours in the East and West, against Moab and Ammon, and the Philistines. After the division the powers of Israel and Judah had hardly sufficed at all times to protect them against their neighbours; and even, at last, against the Damascenes. Serious dangers threatened from a greater distance. Egypt, the country from which in Syria there was naturally the most to fear, had kept[Pg 22] within her borders since the settlement of the Israelites in Canaan, as if to secure space and freedom for the development of Israel. Only once in the course of five centuries was this rest broken by the campaign of the Pharaoh Shishak, and then in a very transitory manner. But half a century after this campaign another opponent arose far to the East on the banks of the Tigris, who now had secured a firm footing on the Euphrates, whose armies first trod the north of Syria, and tried their strength in repeated campaigns against Damascus. Ahab of Israel in league with Damascus and other princes of the Syrians succeeded in beating off the first attack; but after him Jehu and Jehoahaz of Israel paid tribute to the kings of Asshur, and though the successors of Bin-nirar III. had to fight in Arrapachitis and Gauzanitis, they repeatedly led their armies against Northern Syria, against Arpad and Hadrach.

However secure men might feel in Israel and Judah in the possession of the position recently obtained under Jeroboam and Uzziah, it could not escape a keener eye that a power had forced its way to the Euphrates, and every moment threatened a renewed attack on Syria which Israel and Judah were not in a position to resist, even in the favourable position in which for a moment they were situated. Even if Israel and Judah united their forces, which for the moment were excellently arranged, it was scarcely conceivable that they could make any stand against the supremacy of Assyria, if this were expressly directed against Syria. Only in the event of a hearty combination of all the states and tribes of Syria, the Philistines and the Phenicians, Hamath and Damascus, Israel and Judah; only by the union of all Syria under one power, could a sufficient counterpoise be provided to the Assyrian power. But the feeling and tendencies[Pg 23] of these states were different, as also was the state of civilisation and religious life; and the thought of such an union never arose among them. Even if it had it could hardly be realised here, or elsewhere in the East, in any other way than by establishing one despotic monarch. Such a form of union would at any rate have required that Israel should give the best she had. Instead of a political impulse which would have united Israel and Judah with Damascus and Hamath, the Phenicians and Philistines, the internal circumstances of Israel and Judah, the opposition to the renewed encroachments of the Canaanitish worship, combined with the threatening position of Assyria, gave a new, peculiar, and lofty flight to the religious development of the Israelites.

In its struggles against the house of Omri the prophetic power was inwardly ripened and strengthened. With the relaxation of persecution the intensity and ecstacy of the prophets must have been relaxed. In the place of the passionate strife came a more peaceful tone, greater calmness, more earnest introspection. Yet the prophetic power was not merely purified, it was also deepened. By degrees, elements which had been developed in other spheres exercised an influence on the prophetic work, on the reflection on the nature and will of Jehovah, and the effort to be absorbed in him. The expression and outlet which religious feeling had found in religious songs, in invocations, and hymns of thanksgiving, praise and penitence, supplied to the prophetic feeling a fuller, broader and more variable background. To the oldest account of the fortunes of Israel, which arose in priestly circles, and of the covenant which his God had once made with him, to the collection and establishment of the law which formed the contents of this covenant, was[Pg 24] soon added the second text, which described in a more lively manner the manifestations of the tribal God, his guidance of the patriarchs and forefathers of the nation, and, like the older text, it was for a long time in the hands of the prophets. Even before Joel, at the time when the high-priest Jehoiada was regent for king Joash in Judah (II. 259), urged the nation to repentance and introspection, the hand of a prophet had united those two texts. Penetrated by their contents, he had, as might be expected from his point of view, laid the main stress on the promises and prophecies, on the relation of man to God, on the nature of man, and his duty in life. In this form the books of the fortunes of the patriarchs, of the covenant of Jehovah and Israel, of the promise of protection and blessing in return for the observation of this covenant, must have exercised an especial influence on the circle of the prophets; they showed them the past in the closest relation to the present; they strengthened their conviction that the external relation was insufficient, that the essential point was the internal relation of man to his God.

As a fact the people of Israel had experienced a peculiar fortune. Of the same origin as a part of the Arabian and Syrian tribes and closely allied to them, the Israelites had not followed the same path of development. Branching off from those nearest, and then from their older tribesmen, with whom they had previously pastured their flocks, they grew up into a nation on the borders of Egypt and under Egyptian supremacy; a nation in which nomadic simplicity met with certain influences due to Egyptian culture. Forced back upon their feeling of national independence by the oppression of the Egyptians, the children of Jacob had emancipated themselves from Egyptian dominion, and had embraced with renewed vigour the worship[Pg 25] of their tribal God, and at length had won by force of arms an abode among the kindred tribes, to which they now stood opposed as enemies. The tribes of Syria were far before them in culture of every kind, in wealth and adornment of life; the tribes of the desert, the closely related neighbours on the east of the Jordan, did not cease to attack and plunder the cantons of the Israelites; their neighbours on the south coast sought with persistence to subjugate them. Thus the national contrast remained in force, and the fixity of it was favoured by the nature of the mountain country, the seclusion of many valleys and heights possessed by the Israelites, while these same natural conditions rendered impossible such a thorough entrance into the life of the maritime cities, and the life of Damascus and Hamath, as could lead to the dissolution of the nationality. The fact that Israel, at the time of David and Solomon, obtained the preponderance over their neighbours, tended, together with the national pride, to strengthen the contrast instead of weakening it, and maintained the consciousness of nationality as a great memory. Even from this point of view, starting from the national feeling and consciousness, the prophets could not but oppose the Syrian tribes and their rites, and in this opposition they found the more ready acceptance in Israel, the more thoroughly the consciousness was aroused that the land had been won and maintained in conflict with the tribes to whom this worship belonged. But the conception of the nature of the national deity was far more powerful in the prophets than the sense of nationality. In contrast to the lascivious worship of the powers of nature, the God of Israel was originally conceived as a deity who was alien and opposed to the creative powers of nature. In the sense of this contrast Jehovah was regarded as[Pg 26] an exalted and terrible deity, to look on whom brought death; in this feeling the simple conception, which cannot forego the sensuous element, saw Jehovah's manifestation in flame, in the destroying but purifying glow of fire. The aversion to all sensuous nature now rises to its fullest power in the mind of the prophets in opposition to the Syrian rites; their supernatural point of view, forced onward by the struggle and the contrast, disrobed the idea of God of every material element which still adhered to it. How could this supra-terrestrial power, before which all that is earthly is dust and mire, dwell in a frail image made by human hands? The temple at Jerusalem had no image, the greater part of the old places of sacrifice were without any, and among the Hebrews it was well known that the worship of Jehovah without images was the traditional mode of worship. Neither the bull-images of Jehovah, which had been set up at the time of the division of the kingdom in Israel, in contrast to the images of the Syrian gods, though tolerated by the prophets at the time of Ahab and Jehoram, nor any other image of the god, ought to be worshipped. If the divine power is not only supernatural but also purely spiritual, beyond nature and ruling over it; if it is without manifestation in the world of sense; there can be no question of the worship or deification of elementary powers, or the personification of physical processes; the worship of these is nothing but deception and senseless rites. Moreover, the power before which all nature quakes can be but one. Thus, to the prophetic mind, Jehovah from being the tribal God of Israel, beside whom other gods defended their nations, though not so mighty as he, becomes the one and only God. And to them this God is no longer merely the power which rules over[Pg 27] nature, no longer merely the jealous and severe God of his nation from whom the first-born must be purchased, who must be worshipped with many sacrifices, and pleasant odours—to the inward emotion, the inward certainty, and conscience of the prophets he is at the same time the highest ethical power. Whatever they in their enlightenment and in their hearts felt to be the just, the good, the highest, is Jehovah's nature. In him were concentrated the moral elements as conceived by the prophets, and nature is no more than the footstool under his feet. He is now the one supernatural, spiritual and moral power, which rules the world, before which earth and mankind disappear. He is pure, holy and sublime; he hates injustice, violence, exaction, avarice, deceit, and oppression of kindred, and looks not on wickedness with favour. His will is just, he will requite every one according to his actions, and will not forget the evil of the evil-doer. What can the holy and just Lord in heaven care for offerings of food, frankincense, and drink? The lips and the heart must be elevated to his greatness, his commands must be kept, and men must make themselves holy as he is holy. The only service of the holy God is a holy and righteous life. Sacrifice is not required, but recognition of God, simplicity, chastity, and moderation.

If from this point of view, to which their own conception had laboriously risen—they had learned to know the ancient God of Israel in his true nature—and following the lead of the sacred Scriptures, the prophets cast a glance on the fortunes and achievements of their nation,—had not Jehovah already announced himself to their forefathers? Had he not by Moses commanded and established the true worship? Had he not done great things for his[Pg 28] people? Had he not led them out of Egypt and given them this beautiful land for a possession? But had Israel been grateful for this?—had he made any return?—had he kept the covenant which Jehovah had made with him, and his law? At the best sacrifices were offered at Jerusalem, prayer was made to bull-images at Dan and Bethel. But how many were there who worshipped Baal, Astarte, and Ashera! How regardless of their duties were the rich, and the judges, how luxurious and dissolute in their lives! Was this the way to fulfil the commands of the just and holy God?

From this arose a peculiar class of ideas. Jehovah had chosen Israel for his people before other nations. He desires to protect him and grant him his favour. But how can he, the pure and holy God, grant protection and defence, if his people live an impure and unholy life? To protect sinners would be against his own nature. Jehovah was a severe and jealous God; was he not to punish the defection from his service, the faithlessness and ingratitude of the nation, with grievous punishment? Must he not visit these wrong-doers with a heavy penalty? The Assyrians were on the Euphrates. From these suppositions, and the conclusion that Jehovah, according to his pure and holy being as well as his severe nature, must punish the error of the people; that he could not allow the breach of the ancient covenant, the defection, the worship of idols, the injustice, and the luxury to remain unvisited, grew up the idea of a great sentence about to be executed on Israel and Judah. Among the prophets this became a settled conviction. But according to their conception, Jehovah is raised far above the weakness and the anger of men. If his people return to him, amend their conversation, and serve him with their lips and their heart, he will in his mercy pardon[Pg 29] them, or the punishment which he sends upon them will be merely a purification; the stiff-necked obstinacy of the hard heart he will break; many will fall, but he will spare those who are true to him; and when he has corrected his people by a severe judgment, he will exalt them anew, and take up his abode on Zion.

Filled with these conceptions the prophets came forward soon after the beginning of the eighth century. They are no longer sooth-sayers and seers; they do not predict any more; they do not announce definite facts; they only know what will and must be the consequences of the sinful life of the people: they proclaim a great judgment; they declare what must be done in order to turn aside the wrath of Jehovah. Impelled by inward certainty to ascertain and reveal the nature and will of Jehovah, filled with religious inspiration, and in a tone of deepest earnestness, the prophets give to their utterances an expression of force and fire, which forms a proper sequel to the beautiful beginnings of lyric poetry, as we have learned to know them in the songs of victory, in the strains of thanksgiving and lamentation of the Israelites, in the psalms—a sequel which corresponds to the power and importance of the spiritual movement from which the exhortations of the prophets arise. With unwearied zeal they exhort the people to return to their ancient God and trust in him alone. Then, as Israel's power began to decline after the death of Jeroboam and Uzziah, the view and conception of the prophets becomes higher and higher; the more threatening and dangerous the position of affairs, the greater their influence; and at the time when the political existence of the Israelites was broken down, their religious life is perfected and purified, into a thorough recognition of ethical monotheism.

A man of the kingdom of Judah, Amos of Tekoa, a[Pg 30] place not far from Jerusalem, prophesied in Israel in the first decades of the reign of Jeroboam, between 790 and 760 B.C. He calls himself "neither a prophet, nor the son of a prophet;" he assures us that he was not a disciple of the prophets, and did not wear the usual garb of a prophet, i. e. a poor coarse clothing. He adds that he was a herdsman and a planter of sycamores: "Jehovah took me from following the flock, and said to me; Go and prophesy to my people in Israel."[51] From these prophecies, which he afterwards wrote down, it is plain that the Holy Scriptures, in the form in which the two texts had been united and revised by the hand of a prophet, were familiar to him and present before him; that the prophecies of Joel were known to him.[52] It was in Bethel, the chief place of sacrifice in Israel, that he came forward. There, at the place of the bull-image, he proclaimed the wickedness of this worship, and branded in still stronger terms the moral corruption of the land. In vain had Jehovah uttered warnings by his prophets; the law was not regarded; justice was crooked; the weak were[Pg 31] oppressed. No doubt Amos exaggerated his reproaches, but we cannot doubt that the faults he attacked were in existence. The careless he threatened with the destruction which would soon burst upon them if they remained without repentance or improvement. Then would the high places of Isaac be laid waste, and the shrines of Israel destroyed, and Jehovah would rise up with the sword against the house of Jeroboam. The priests of Israel could not endure to hear such utterances. The high priest at Bethel, Amaziah, said to Amos: "Seer, go flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread and prophesy. Prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's chapel, and the king's court." Amos answered: "Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac. Therefore thus saith Jehovah: Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by a line; and thou shalt die in polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land." Then Amaziah the priest sent to king Jeroboam: "Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel; the land is not able to bear all his words; for he saith, By the sword shall Jeroboam die, and Israel shall be led captive out of his land."

The proclamations of Amos were not directed against Israel alone. He threatens the Damascenes and the Ammonites with vengeance for the devastations they had caused in Gilead (II. 258); the Philistines because they had carried away captives from Judah and sold them (II. 303); the city of Tyre because she put the captives of Judah in the hands of the Edomites; the Edomites because they pursued their brothers (the Judæans) with the sword (II. 252).[Pg 32] Nor does he even spare the kingdom of Judah; even there the law of Jehovah is despised, and his ordinances are not kept. But the judgment of Jehovah will descend only on the guilty, and when the day of judgment is over Jehovah will again purify Israel and set up Zion.

"Did I not bring you up from Egypt?" so Amos represents Jehovah as saying; "Did I not lead you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorites? Did I not destroy the Amorites before you, who were tall as cedars, and strong as oaks? Did I not raise up prophets from your sons, and Nazarites from your young men?[53] Hear this word, ye who oppress the weak and trample underfoot the poor;[54] ye who stretch yourselves beside the altar on garments taken in pledge, and drink the wine of the condemned in the house of your gods; ye who overpower the just, and make the poor bow down at the gate;[55] who purchase the thirsty for silver, and the helpless for a pair of shoes;[56] who, father and son together, go to one mistress, and say: When is the new moon over that we may sell grain, and the day of rest that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balance for deception. Do men hunt the horse on the rocks, and plough the stone with oxen, that ye may turn justice into poison, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock?[57] Because ye trample down the weak, and oppress them with burdens, ye have planted pleasant vineyards, and built houses of hewn stone.[58] O ye that are at ease in Zion, ye careless ones in the mount of Samaria, who imagine that the day of destruction is far off, and draw near the seat of violence; who lie on beds of ivory, and stretch yourselves on[Pg 33] couches; who eat up the lambs of the flock and the calves of the stall; who chant to the sound of the harp, in order to invent instruments of music like David;[59] who empty your wine cups, and anoint yourselves with the chief oil, and trouble not yourselves for the affliction of Joseph; ye shall not dwell in your houses, and drink the wine out of your pleasant gardens: ye shall go forth into misery, with the first that go captive.[60] Go to Bethel, and transgress; to Gilgal, and multiply transgression. Bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes on the third day; burn thank-offerings, and publish the free will offerings.[61] Seek me not at Bethel, and go not to Gilgal and Beersheba. I hate your festivals, and will not taste your offerings, or look on the thank-offering of your stalled calves. Take from me the noise of your songs, and let me not hear the sound of the harp.[62] Let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: establish judgment in the gate; it may be that Jehovah will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph. Hate the evil, and love the good, so will Jehovah, the God of hosts, be with you."[63]

"But they multiply injustice and robbery in their palaces. The end of my people Israel draws near; I will not overlook it longer in him. I will change your festivals into lamentation, and all your songs into mourning, and will bring sackcloth about your loins. The enemy comes round the land, and tears down the power of Israel, and his palaces are plundered.[64] Go to Calneh, and see, and from thence pass to Hamath the great (II. 317, supr. p. 15), and go down to Gath[Pg 34] (p. 18); are ye better than these kingdoms, or is your land greater? I raise against you a nation which will force you from Hamath unto the river of the plain.[65] At the time when I avenge the evil of Israel upon him, and the altars of Bethel, the horns of the altar will fall to the ground. I will smite the winter house and the summer house; the houses of ivory shall fall to the ground.[66] The flight shall perish from the swift; the bowman shall not stand, the horseman shall not deliver himself, and the most courageous among the mighty shall flee away naked on that day.[67] All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say: The evil shall not overtake us.[68] But I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob. I will shake them as a man shaketh a sieve, and not a grain shall fall to the ground. The days come when the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed, and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them, and I will plant them fast in the land, which I have given to them, that they be no more pulled out."

Amos had not deceived himself as to the want of inward cohesion in the circumstances of Israel. The days of Jeroboam II. were coming to an end. The power which he had gained for his kingdom, the order he had given to it, were not so firmly fixed that they outlived the founders. His son Zachariah, who ascended the throne in 749 B.C., remained on it for half a year only. He was murdered "before the people" by a man of the name of Shallum, the son of Jabesh, who placed himself at the head of a[Pg 35] conspiracy, and with him the house of Jehu came to an end in the fourth generation. Shallum seized the throne, but maintained it only a month. Menahem, the son of Gadi, rebelled against him in Tirzah, defeated and slew him, and took his place on the throne (748 B.C.).[69] He met with resistance in the land; internal strife distracted Israel, and loosed all the bonds of order. "The idols have spoken vanity," so we find it in the older Zachariah; "and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams; they comfort in vain; therefore they went their way as a flock; they were troubled, because they had no shepherd. Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the goats.[70] I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith Jehovah; but lo! I will deliver the men, every man into his neighbour's hand, and into the hand of his king, and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them. Three shepherds also I cut off in one month;[71] and my soul loathed them; and I said, I will not feed you: that which dieth, let it die; and that which is to be cut off, let it be cut off, and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another. For lo! I will raise up a shepherd in the land which shall not visit those that be cut off, nor seek the strayed one, nor heal that which is wounded; but he shall eat the flesh of the fat. Woe to the worthless shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his right arm, and upon his right eye. His arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye darkened.[72] Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars! Howl, cypress, for the cedar is fallen; for the heights are made desolate: howl, O oaks of Bashan;[Pg 36] for the steep forest sinketh! Listen to the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: listen to the roaring of lions, for the pride of Jordan is desolate.[73] The burden descends on Hadrach, and on Damascus; on Hamath that shall border thereby; on Tyre and Sidon, though it be very wise. Tyre built herself a stronghold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. Behold, the Lord will take her, and cast her walls into the sea, and she shall be consumed by fire. Ascalon shall see it, and fear; Gaza, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron, for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ascalon is uninhabited. A strange race shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will destroy the pride of the Philistines.[74] And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and horses from Jerusalem. But Jehovah shall save them in that day as the flock of his people; they are the stones of a crown lifted up upon his land."[75]

Even earlier, in the last years of the reign of Jeroboam, or the beginning of the reign of his son Zachariah, Hosea, the son of Beeri, had received the word. "Yet a little time," such is the word of Jehovah in his lips, "and I will avenge the bloodguiltiness of Jezreel on the house of Jehu (the murder of Jehoram and Jezebel by Jehu, II. 254), and put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel; and at the same time I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel."[76] When Zachariah fell before Shallum, and Jehu's house was destroyed, we find in Hosea, "They chose kings without me (Jehovah), captains of whom I knew nothing." "I will give thee a king in my anger, and take him away in wrath. All your kings shall fall,[Pg 37] for none of them call upon me. Israel is a heifer that cannot be tied."[77] The prophet demands with the greatest vehemence that the worship of images shall be given up, and the bull-images at Dan and Bethel (II. 237) removed: that robbery and murder come to an end, that Israel turn to Jehovah; the judgment threatens, and there is no helper but Jehovah.[78] "Hear this, ye priests; receive it, house of Israel; and thou, house of the king, take heed thereof," cries Hosea.[79] "When Israel was a child I loved him, saith Jehovah; I called my son from Egypt. In the desert, in the land of great drought, I did know thee.[80] I taught Ephraim to go, taking them by the arm; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I took off the yoke from their backs, and laid meat unto them.[81] Israel was an empty vine, but the more that his fruit increased, the more altars did he build; the better his land, the more beautiful pillars did he set up.[82] They made images of their silver according to their knowledge, idols, the work of craftsmen, and said: Let them that sacrifice kiss the calves.[83] They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and burn incense on the hills, under oaks, and poplars, and elms, because the shadow thereof is good.[84] I will go after my lovers, saith Israel, the faithless wife, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink; and she knows not that Jehovah increased her corn and sweet wine, and oil, and silver.[85] There is no faithfulness, no love, no knowledge of God in the land. Ye have ploughed wickedness and reaped iniquity, and have eaten the fruit of lies.[86] They practise swearing and lying, and[Pg 38] stealing, and adultery, and violence; the priests commit murder on the way to Shechem; they practise all iniquity in Gilgal, and bloodguiltiness is joined to bloodguiltiness.[87] They slay flesh for sacrifice, and eat it.[88] I desire not sacrifice but mercy; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.[89] Therefore in my own time I will take back my corn; I will tear away my wool and my flax from the harlot Israel; and make an end to her festivals, her new moons, her sabbaths, and avenge on her the days of Baal, when she offered incense to them which placed their nose-ring and ornaments upon her, and went after her lovers, and loved the hire of the harlot at every thrashing floor, but forgat me."[90]

"Israel hath forgotten his creator, and built palaces, and Judah hath multiplied his fortified cities,"[91] says the prophet in regard to the fortresses built by Uzziah (p. 19). "They trusted to the number of thy warriors, but Israel's king passes away like a morning cloud. Ephraim is as a silly dove; they call on Egypt; they go to Assyria to bring whoredom. Ephraim goes after Asshur, and sends to the king for help. Ephraim will hunt after the wind, and strain after the East wind, that they may make a covenant with Assyria, and carry oil to Egypt.[92] The Deliverer king will not heal you. The East will come; a wind of Jehovah will rise out of the desert, which will plunder the treasure of costly furniture, and Samaria will repent. The calf of Bethaven (= house of Evil,—thus the prophet alters the name of Bethel = house of God, the chief place of worship in the kingdom of Israel) will be carried to Assyria, as a gift to the king, the[Pg 39] Deliverer; Asshur shall be their king, for they will not amend. The days of punishment, of vengeance will come; as to the people, so shall it happen to the priests. Israel's pride shall be bowed down, and Judah shall fall with him. They shall not remain in the land of Jehovah; Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and eat unclean things in Assyria. They are gone because of destruction; Egypt shall gather them up, and Memphis shall bury them.[93] The high places of Bethaven shall be destroyed; thorns and thistles shall come up on their altars, and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us."[94]

"What shall I do to thee, Ephraim? how shall I deal with thee? Shall I destroy thee? saith Jehovah. But my heart is turned, my repentings are kindled; I will not execute the fierceness of my wrath; I am God and not man; as the Holy One I will not come into anger.[95] I will punish them till they repent, and in their affliction they will seek me early.[96] I will allure them into the wilderness; I will speak to their hearts, that Israel may sing again as in the days of his youth, and on the day when he came out of Egypt; and the name of Baal I will remove out of his mouth.[97] Return, O Israel, to Jehovah thy God. Speak ye to him; Take away iniquity, and receive us, that we offer the sacrifice of our lips. Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride on horses; the work of our hands shall be called our gods no more.[98] Then, saith Jehovah: I will hear Ephraim, and look with favour upon him. I will heal their backsliding, and come and love them freely; my anger is turned away, and I will let them dwell in their houses. I will be as dew upon Israel;[Pg 40] Israel shall grow as a lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon: and I will betroth thee unto me for ever; I will betroth thee in righteousness and in judgment, in loving-kindness, gentleness, and mercies."[99]

The words of Hosea leave no doubt that Menahem, king of Israel, sought aid from Assyria in order to maintain himself on the throne. With this the Books of Kings agree. They tell us: Menahem gave to the king of Assyria 1000 kikkar of silver (according to the Babylonian standard about £300,000), "that the king might join him in establishing the kingdom in his hand." The payment of the money was imposed by Menahem on all the men of substance in Israel; fifty shekels of silver on every man. According to this the king of Israel was himself without means, but the land must have been in a position to pay such a considerable tribute, so large a sum. There must, according to this statement, have been at this time 60,000 families in Israel who were in a position to pay a mina each (about £5). The monuments of Assyria inform us that in the year 742 B.C. Tiglath Pilesar marched against northern Syria and Arpad (Tel Erfad p. 2); that he conquered Arpad after a siege of three years, or after three campaigns against the city.[100] In the city of Arpad—so we are told in a fragment of his annals—he received the tribute of Rezin of Damascus; 18 kikkar of gold, 3000 kikkar of silver, 200 kikkar of copper; and the tribute of Kustaspi of Kummukh, of Hiram of Tyre, of Pisiris of Karchemish.[101] This must, therefore, have taken place in the year 740 or 739 B.C. He received the tribute of Menahem immediately before the ninth year of his[Pg 41] reign (737 B.C.), i. e. in the year 738 B.C. He tells us that at that time he received tribute from Kustaspi of Kummukh, Rezin of Damascus, Menahem of Samaria, Hiram of Tyre, Sibittibal of Gebal (Byblus), Urikki of Kui (Cilicia), Pisiris of Karchemish, Eniel of Hamath, Tarchular of Gamguma, Sulumal of Milid, Vassurmi of Tubal, and Zabibieh, the queen of the Arabs. Menahem, therefore, sought to purchase the help of Tiglath Pilesar by offering tribute soon after the fall of Arpad. Hence in these years the king of Assyria held a position which included northern and central Syria, and governed those countries immediately from the crossing of the Euphrates at Karchemish, and from Arpad. Passing beyond Hamath and Damascus, beyond Byblus and Tyre, he was now ruler over the kingdom of Samaria also. From the South-east a princess of the Arabs, from the North-west the prince of the Cilicians, sent tribute. Menahem of Israel must have died soon after the payment of tribute; the subjection to Assyria appears to have established his power so far that his son Pekahiah could succeed him on the throne (738 B.C.). But in the second year of his reign Pekahiah was murdered in the palace at Samaria by Pekah, the son of Remaliah, who now ascended the throne of Israel (736 B.C.). Pekah combined with Rezin, king of Damascus, for a united attack on the kingdom of Judah.

Judah did not remain untouched by the establishment and extensive advances of the Assyrian power in Syria. We saw in what successful struggles Uzziah-Azariah had extended the territory of Judah in his long reign; how agriculture and trade developed under him. The advance of Tiglath Pilesar in the last years of the reign of Uzziah called these successes in question once more. It did not find Uzziah wholly unprepared. He had fortified Jerusalem more strongly; he had[Pg 42] provided for the arming of his forces, and arranged the levy of the men of military age. A very mutilated fragment of the annals of Tiglath Pilesar mentions twice the land of Judah, and three times the second half of the name of Azariah, i. e. the name by which Uzziah is named in the Books of Kings.[102] Another fragment, which deals with the events in Syria which took place before the payment of tribute to Menahem, again mentions Azariah (Uzziah); it informs us that Mount Lebanon, the land of Baalzephon,[103] the land of Ammana (the region of the Amanus?) the city of Hadrach had been subjugated; that the king "added to the land of Assyria nineteen districts of Hamath, situated on the sea of the setting sun, together with the cities in their land, which had revolted to Azariah in faithless rebellion, and had placed his officers and viceroys over them."[104] The districts of Hamath here mentioned must be sought between the Orontes and the sea, immediately north of Aradus. The occurrence no doubt took place in the time when Tiglath Pilesar fought against or besieged Arpad, i. e. in the years from 742 B.C. to 740. From this we must conclude that Azariah (Uzziah) of Judah (neither he nor the kingdom of Judah is mentioned among the tributary states in these fragments) assumed a hostile position towards Tiglath Pilesar; that during the struggle for Arpad he attempted to unite some of the states and tribes of Syria against the advance of Assyria. This opposition of Judah may have formed another motive for Menahem to place himself under the supremacy, and at the same time under the protection, of Tiglath Pilesar. As vassals of Tiglath Pilesar, Rezin of[Pg 43] Damascus and Pekah of Israel may have felt themselves more justified in attacking the southern neighbour-state, the kingdom of Judah, which would not submit to the dominion of Assyria.

Uzziah was no more when Pekah obtained the throne of Israel. He had died four years previously (740 B.C.), and was buried in the sepulchres of the kings at Jerusalem. His son Jotham, who had already shared in the rule during the last years of his father's reign, sat on the throne of Judah. He withstood the attack of the combined Israelites and Damascenes.[105] But his son Ahaz, who succeeded him in the year 734 B.C., was reduced by this war to the greatest distress. The Philistines whom Uzziah had repelled and punished severely, the Edomites whom he had subjugated, rebelled. Pekah's warriors laid Judah waste, and carried rich booty and numerous prisoners to Samaria; Rezin pressed forward to the south to aid the Edomites, expelled the Judæans from Elath, and there established himself on the Red Sea. The hostile armies marched on Jerusalem. Ahaz "made his son to go through the fire" to avert the threatened ruin. At last he found no other means of rescue than to pay homage to Assyria, and entreat the protection of Tiglath Pilesar.

In the last years of Uzziah, and in the reign of Jotham, Isaiah, the son of Amoz, had received the word at Jerusalem. Like Amos and Hosea, Isaiah contended against the luxury and dissoluteness of the rich, the injustice of the elders, the corruption of the judges, the idolatry in the land. He attacked the false security in which men reposed in the possession of horses and chariots of war; he announced the coming vengeance with even more vehement emphasis than his predecessors. If for them the gods of the other nations[Pg 44] have already disappeared beside the One Jehovah, Isaiah represents the approaching destruction as breaking out not only over Israel and Judah, but over all nations, because they go after false gods. Their evil deeds will also be punished; no power on the earth can stand before Jehovah. But behind this judgment, the horror of which will turn all men to Jehovah, Isaiah also exhibits the restoration of Israel and Judah, the restoration of the whole renewed world, in the most glowing colours. That was Jehovah's purpose "since the days of old."

"The land is full of horses," so Isaiah spake, "and there is no end of its chariots." As we have seen, Uzziah had amassed munitions of war, and arranged excellently the military power (p. 19),—"but the land is also full of idols, and they worship the work of their own hands. Every man oppresses his neighbour; the young man behaves proudly against the old, and the base against the honourable. Thy chiefs, O Jerusalem, are faithless men, the companions of thieves![106] Every one loves bribery, and seeks after gain. They do no justice to the orphan, and regard not the cause of the widow. Woe to them that decree unrighteous decrees, and to the scribes who write iniquity, to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor![107] Woe to them who justify the wicked for reward, and take away the right of the just![108] Woe to them that join house to house, and field to field, till they alone are possessors of the land![109] What mean ye to beat my people in pieces, saith Jehovah, and grind the faces of the poor?[110] Woe to them that rise up early in the[Pg 45] morning, and follow strong drink, who heated with wine sit till the night; and the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts![111] Woe to them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink! Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter; that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe to them who draw upon them punishment with cords of vanity, and reward of sin with a cart-rope!"[112]

Isaiah carried the Jews from the service of sacrifice to the improvement of the heart, to righteous conversation and good works. "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me?" so Isaiah represents Jehovah as saying. "I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of stalled calves; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, lambs, and he-goats. Who hath required of you to tread my courts? Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth; they are trouble to me, I am weary to bear them. Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination to me: when ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you; and when ye pray, I will not hear you.[113] With your mouth ye draw near to me, and with your lips ye honour me; but your heart ye keep far from me, and your fear of me is taught by the precept of men.[114] Relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead the cause of the widow. Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil."[115]

"What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done to it? Wherefore, when I looked[Pg 46] that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? Ye have turned my vineyard into a pasture; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. Now I will take away the hedge, and pull down the walls, that it may be trodden down.[116] I will come to judgment with your elders and chiefs, and I will deal marvellously with this people; the wisdom of their wise men, and the understanding of the prudent shall be hid."[117] After Isaiah had depicted the terrors of the day of judgment, the quaking of the earth, the creeping away and the death of sinners, in lively colours, he represents the people as crying out: "Who of us shall dwell with the devouring fire, and the everlasting flame?" and then answers: "He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; who despiseth the gain of oppressions; that turneth his hands from holding of bribes, and stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; who taketh justice for his measuring line and righteousness for his balance: he shall dwell on high; his place of defence shall be the munitions of the rock, and his waters shall not be dried up. Though your sins be red like scarlet, they shall be white as snow, if ye obey Jehovah."[118]

With the death of Jotham the distress increased. Isaiah warns his people not to seek aid from Assyria. "Wickedness," he cries, "burneth as fire; no man shall spare his fellow. He shall snatch on the right hand and be hungry; and eat on the left hand and be unsatisfied. Manasseh shall eat Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh, and both together shall fall upon Judah."[119] "Fear not," he says to king Ahaz, "neither be faint-hearted, for the two tails of these smoking firebrands;[Pg 47] for the fierce anger of Rezin and the son of Remaliah; they shall not break open Jerusalem, and the land, before whose kings thou art afraid, shall soon be made desolate.[120] But with the razor that is hired beyond the river (Euphrates) the Lord will shear off thy head, and the hair of thy feet, and thy beard."[121] And when Ahaz refused to be restrained, Isaiah proclaimed: "Because Israel rejoices in Rezin and the son of Remaliah, the Lord will bring upon them the waters of the river strong and many. The stream shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks; the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria. But the stream shall pass through Judah; it shall overflow and go over till it reaches even to the neck."[122]

"Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath Pilesar, king of Assyria," so the Books of Kings tell us, "saying, I am thy servant and thy son; come up and save me out of the hands of the king of Aram (of Damascus) and the king of Israel. And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of Jehovah, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent a present to the king of Assyria. Then the king of Assyria gave ear to him. He marched out against Damascus and took it, and carried away the inhabitants to Kir, and slew Rezin. And in Israel Tiglath Pilesar took Ijon and Abel-beth-Maachah, and Janoha, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, the whole land of Naphtali, and led them away to Assyria. And Hoseas, the son of Elah, set on foot a conspiracy against Pekah, and defeated him, and slew him, and was king in his place. But Ahaz went to Damascus to meet king Tiglath Pilesar."[123][Pg 48]

The Assyrian list of rulers mentions for the year 734 B.C. a campaign of Tiglath Pilesar against the land of the Philistines, and for the years 733 and 732 B.C. campaigns of the king against Damascus. A fragment of the annals informs us that the army of Damascus was defeated; that their king Rezin (Rasunnu) fled to the great gate of his city; that his captive generals were crucified; that the city was besieged; that Hadara, the house of the father of Rezin, was taken; that 591 places in 16 districts of the kingdom of Damascus (Imirisu) were laid waste.[124] A further fragment informs us that Tiglath Pilesar made himself master of the cities of Hadrach, Zemar, and Arka (the two ancient cities of the Phenicians on the coast, already known to us); that he reached the borders of the land of Omri (Israel); that Hanno, king of Gaza, fled to Egypt before the face of the warrior Tiglath Pilesar. Afterwards the fragment mentions the land of Omri, speaks of a sending or carrying away to Assyria, and continues: "Pekah (Pakaha) their king they had slain. Hoseas (Husi) I made king over them."[125] The inscription, which comprises the deeds of Tiglath Pilesar down to the last year of his reign, mentions towards the end the princes of Assyria, who brought him tribute: Sibittibal of Byblus, Eniel of Hamath, Mattanbal of Arvad, Sanib of Ammon (Bit Ammanai), Salman of Moab, Mitinti of Ascalon, Ahaz of Judah (Jauhazi, Jahudai), Kosmalak of Edom, Hanno (Hanun) of Gaza.[126]

The attempt of Rezin of Damascus and Pekah of[Pg 49] Israel to break the rise of the Philistines and Edomites, and the power of the kingdom of Judah, fortified as it was and strengthened by Uzziah, led to important consequences, to the subjugation of Syria to Assyria throughout its whole extent. When Ahaz called for help, Tiglath Pilesar turned against the enemies of Judah. The kingdom of Damascus, which for 120 years had so powerfully withstood the Assyrians, succumbed after a struggle of two years. Tyre and Byblus had long paid tribute to Tiglath Pilesar, and now Aradus was compelled to recognise the supremacy of Assyria; Israel was overrun: the inhabitants of the northern towns—Ijon, Abel-beth-maacha, Hazor and Kedesh, and the dwellers in the land of Naphtali on the lakes of Merom and Genezareth, and of the land of Gilead—were carried away to Assyria. The eastern neighbours of Israel and of the land of Gilead, the Ammonites and Moabites, were driven to submit like the Edomites; the cities of the Philistines were conquered. With the subjugation of Ascalon and Gaza the Assyrian kingdom became the neighbour of Egypt.


[40] 2 Kings xiv. 23; Amos vi. 2, 14.

[41] Amos iii. 11; vi. 4-8; Hosea xii. 9. That the commencement of Jehu and Athaliah must be placed at the year 843 B.C., has been shown Vol. II. p. 234. The Books of Kings give 165 years from the accession of Athaliah to the fall of Samaria, and 143 years from the accession of Jehu to the same time. Hence the synchronism which they observe for corresponding reigns in Israel and Judah cannot be correct at any rate for the last half-century of this time, and varying statements with reference to these reigns show that this fact was known to those who made these observations. Moreover, the canon of the Assyrians puts the fall of Samaria in the year 722 B.C., from which it follows (843-722=121), that 44 years in excess for Judah, and 22 for Israel, have been added. Thus we are driven to hypotheses for the period from 843 to 722 B.C., as well as for the period 953-843. In the traditional numbers at least in one reign there has been abbreviation, not extension, as in the previous period. Samaria was taken in the ninth year of Hoshea, the seventh of Hezekiah (2 Kings xvii. 6; xviii. 10). Hoshea therefore ascended the throne in 730, Hezekiah in 728 B.C. But the facts narrated in a fragment of the annals of Tiglath Pilesar, that he reached the borders of Bit Omri, that he conquered Gaza and made Hoshea king (frag. 11, in G. Smith, "Disc." p. 284), fall, according to the list of rulers, in the year 734 B.C. Hoshea's accession must, therefore, be placed in the year 734 B.C. Hoshea's predecessor, Pekah, is said to have reigned 20 years. If Hoshea ascended the throne in 734 B.C., Pekah, according to this statement, must have ascended it in 754 B.C., and Pekahiah, the son of Menahem, who only reigned two years, in 756. But the fragment of the annals of Tiglath Pilesar, which mentions the payment of tribute by Menahem, puts this payment immediately before the ninth year of Tiglath Pilesar, i. e. before the year 737 B.C.,; frag. 8, in G. Smith, loc. cit. In 738, therefore, Menahem was still on the throne; and his death cannot have taken place before this year. Thus the interval between Menahem's death and Hoshea's accession, which the Books of Kings reckon at 22 years, is reduced to four years; Pekah cannot have reigned 20, but only two or three years. Menahem's death in 738 B.C., fixes the beginning of his reign, which lasted 10 years, at 748 B.C. Before him, Zachariah, the son of Jeroboam, and Shallum, reigned seven months. Jeroboam's reign must, therefore, have ended in 749 B.C. It lasted 41 years, and must, therefore, have begun in 790 B.C. Thus of the 82 years and seven months, which the Books of Kings reckon for Israel from the accession of Jeroboam to the capture of Samaria, 68 only remain. We must place Jeroboam from 790 to 749, Zachariah and Shallum in 749, Menahem's accession in 748, his death in 738; Pekahiah from 738 to 736, Pekah from 736 to 734, in which year he is succeeded by Hoshea.

In the list of the kings of Judah, 90 years are enumerated from Uzziah's (Azariah's) accession to the fall of Samaria. Before Hezekiah, whose accession as already observed is to be put in 728 B.C., comes Ahaz with 16 years; before Ahaz, Jotham also with 16 years. Hence Jotham's predecessor, Uzziah-Azariah, died in 760, and Ahaz began to reign in 744. But the eighth fragment of the annals of Tiglath Pilesar, already mentioned, puts the defection of the 19 districts of the land of Hamath to Azariah not long before the year 738 B.C.,; other fragments mention contacts with Azariah, which, according to the list of rulers, belong to the years 742 or 740 B.C. Hence Azariah was alive at any rate as late as 740 B.C.; the interval given by the Books of Kings between Uzziah-Azariah and the accession of Hezekiah is reduced from 32 to 12 years. The reigns of Jotham and Ahaz must therefore be reduced from 16 years each to six years each; and the 90 years from Uzziah's accession to the fall of Samaria to 70 years. The parallelism with the reigns in Israel remains undisturbed. Jotham reigned from 740 to 734, Ahaz from 734 to 728. In the year 734 Ahaz is attacked by Pekah, who, as we have seen, reigned from 736 to 734, and before the accession of Ahaz had attacked his predecessor Jotham (2 Kings xv. 37). The campaign of Tiglath Pilesar against Pekah took place, according to the list of the rulers, in the year 734 B.C. The same list puts the war of Tiglath Pilesar against Damascus in the years 733 and 732 B.C. The great inscription of Tiglath Pilesar which narrates his deeds down to the seventeenth year of his reign, i. e. down to 729 B.C., mentions shortly before the close the tribute of Jauhazi of Judah (in G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 263), and the Books of Kings (II. xvi. 10, 18), mention the journey of Ahaz to Damascus to pay homage there to Tiglath Pilesar. This must, therefore, have taken place in 732 B.C.. The synchronism of Jeroboam and Uzziah, which is also always marked at the commencement of the prophetic writings referring to them, is not altered by our assumptions. Uzziah, who ascended the throne at 16 years of age, reigned from 792 to 740; Jeroboam from 790 to 749. From Uzziah's accession up to the accession of Athaliah, the Books of Kings give 75 years; the interval between 843 and 792 gives us 51 years; so that there must have been an abbreviation. This can be assumed most conveniently in the reign of Amaziah, which lasted for 29 years, and includes the years from 797 to 792. In the reign of his father Joash we know that there was a long minority, and the twenty-third year of this reign is mentioned. Of Amaziah's acts, the subjugation of Edom, which he did not complete, comes after the year 803 B.C. Edom's tribute is mentioned under Bin-nirar of Assyria (II. 326). Just as little is the parallelism of Amaziah with Joash of Israel altered by our assumption. As 61 years, i. e. eight years too many, were given for Israel from the accession of Jeroboam (790) up to Jehu's accession, eight years must be taken from the reign of Joash, and for his reign, therefore, eight years are left instead of 16, i. e. the eight years from 798 to 790. Violent as these assumptions seem as compared with the traditional numbers of the Books of Kings, they are merely given as a forced hypothesis, and at any rate leave the traditional facts undisturbed, while the coincidence, which may be obtained by assuming joint regencies, a first and second reign of Jeroboam II., a first and second Menahem, a first and second reign of Pekah, for the lists of Judah and Israel, alters the tradition without bringing the agreement into harmony with the list of eponyms.

[42] 2 Chron. xxvi. 10.

[43] 2 Chron. xxvi. 6; Zech. ix. 6. As Amos mentions the capture of Gath (vi. 2), and Judah is still to conquer the remnant of Edom (Amos ix. 12), the war against the Philistines must be regarded as one of Uzziah's deeds in arms.

[44] 2 Chron. xxvi. 7; Isa. ii. 7.

[45] 2 Kings xiv. 22. The re-conquest of the Judæan settlement and harbour city, which had been destroyed by the Edomites in their revolt from Judah under Jehoram (II. 252), can have had no other object than to restore the trade connections on the Red Sea. Besides, it is expressly stated (2 Kings xvi. 6): "At the same time (734 B.C.), Rezin again gained Elath for Syria, and drove the Jews out of Elath, and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there to this day."

[46] This follows from the fact that Amos speaks of the ruined tabernacle of David, and the breaches in its wall (ix. 11).

[47] 2 Chron. xxvi. 15.

[48] 2 Chron. xxvi. 11-14.

[49] An older prophet of this name, distinct from the son of Jehoiadah, and perhaps also distinct from the son of Berechiah (Isa. viii. 2), but identical with this Zachariah, if the words of the Chronicles may be explained to mean: "So long as he (Uzziah) listened to Zachariah."

[50] 2 Kings xv. 3; 2 Chron. xxvi 6-21; 1 Kings ix. 25.

[51] Amos i. 2; iv. 9.

[52] The date of Amos is fixed not only by the superscription, but by the mention of the house of Jeroboam in his prophecies. Moreover, the desolation caused by the Damascenes in Israel, the campaigns of the Philistines against Judah (II. 252), appear to be in recent remembrance. If the "fallen tabernacle of David, the breaches in its wall," are also mentioned (ix. 11, 12), it is clear that Uzziah, who came to the throne in the year 792 B.C. at an age of 16 years, had not completely restored Judah, that he had not recovered Elath. On the other hand, it is clear that Gath was already taken. Hence Amos cannot have come forward before the tenth or twelfth year of Uzziah, i. e. before 782 or 780, according to our computation (p. 18, note). The canon of the Assyrians agrees with this in putting the campaign of Bin-nirar to the coast in the year 803 B.C.; and afterwards records the last campaign of the Assyrians to Damascus before the time of Tiglath Pilesar II. in the year 773 B.C.; after which time only contests against Hadrach (772-765) and against Arpad are mentioned (p. 2), which Tiglath Pilesar then resumes in the year 743 B.C. In Amos the Assyrians are still in the back-ground.

[53] Amos ii. 9-12.

[54] Amos viii. 4; v. 12.

[55] Amos ii. 6, 7.

[56] Amos viii. 6.

[57] Amos vi. 12.

[58] Amos v. 11.

[59] Amos vi. 1-7.

[60] Amos v. 11.

[61] Amos iv. 4, 5.

[62] Amos v. 21-23.

[63] Amos v. 14, 15, 24.

[64] Amos iii. 10, 11; vi. 2.

[65] Amos vi. 14.

[66] Amos iii. 14, 15.

[67] Amos ii. 14-16.

[68] Amos ix. 10.

[69] 2 Kings xv. 8-15.

[70] Zech. x. 2, 3.

[71] King Zachariah, and then Shallum: the third is the opponent of Menahem who sought to maintain himself in Tipsach (Taanach?).

[72] Zech. xi. 6, 8, 9, 16, 17.

[73] Zech. xi. 1-3.

[74] Zech. ix. 1-6.

[75] Zech. ix. 10, 16.

[76] Hosea i. 4, 5.

[77] Hosea viii. 4; iv. 16; vii. 7; xiii. 11.

[78] Hosea xiii. 4.

[79] Hosea v. 1.

[80] Hosea xiii. 5.

[81] Hosea xi. 1-4.

[82] Hosea x. 1.

[83] Hosea xiii. 2.

[84] Hosea iv. 13.

[85] Hosea ii. 5-8.

[86] Hosea x. 13.

[87] Hosea iv. 2.

[88] Hosea viii. 13.

[89] Hosea vi. 6.

[90] Hosea ii. 9-13; ix. 1.

[91] Hosea viii. 14.

[92] Hosea xii. 2.

[93] Hosea ix. 1-6; v. 13; vii. 11; viii. 9; x. 6; xi. 5; xiii. 15; xiv. 1.

[94] Hosea x. 8.

[95] Hosea xi. 9.

[96] Hosea v. 15.

[97] Hosea ii. 14-17.

[98] Hosea xiv. 2-4.

[99] Hosea xiv. 5-9; ii. 19.

[100] Lists of rulers, 742-740, "during three years he conquered Arpad."

[101] Frag. 6, in G. Smith, p. 274.

[102] Eberhard Schrader, "Jahrb. protest. Theolog." 1876, s. 374.

[103] A different Baalzephon from that on the Red Sea; Exod. xiv. 2, 9.

[104] Schrader, loc. cit. s. 375; Rodwell, "Records of the Past," 5, 46; G. Smith, "Disc." p. 277.

[105] 2 Kings xv. 5, 7, 37.

[106] Isa. ii. 7. The moral precepts of Isaiah are collected in the text without regard to the chronology.

[107] Isa. x. 1, 2.

[108] Isa. v. 23.

[109] Isa. v. 8.

[110] Isa. iii. 14, 15.

[111] Isa. v. 11, 12.

[112] Isa. v. 18-22.

[113] Isa. i. 10-15.

[114] Isa. xxix. 13.

[115] Isa. i. 16, 17.

[116] Isa. v. 4, 5, 3, 14.

[117] Isa. xxix. 14.

[118] Isa. xxxiii. 14-16; i. 18, 19.

[119] Isa. ix. 17-20.

[120] Isa. vii. 4, 6, 16.

[121] Isa. vii. 20.

[122] Isa. viii. 4-8.

[123] 2 Kings xv. 29, 30; xvi. 5-10.

[124] Frag. 10, in G. Smith, "Disc." p. 282; E. Schrader, "K. A. T." s. 151.

[125] Frag. 12, in G. Smith, p. 224, 225; Rodwell, "Records of the Past," 5, 52; E. Schrader, "K. A. T." s. 145.

[126] Ll. 57-62, in G. Smith, "Disc." p. 262, 263; E. Schrader, loc. cit. s. 147.



[Pg 50]



At the close of the fourteenth century B.C. Ramses III. had secured Egypt against the attacks of the Libyans, Syrians, and Arabians. His successors of the same name remained peacefully within the borders of their land. Neither tradition nor monuments tell us of their campaigns. Two or three sepulchres in the rocks of Biban el Moluk and some inscriptions give us their names, and inform us that these Ramessids built at the temple of Chon at Thebes, that they maintained the dominion of Thebes up the Nile as far as Mt. Barkal down to the year 1100 B.C.[127] Of more importance is the fact that under the successors of Ramses VI., the last rulers of the name of Ramses, who sat on the throne from the year 1200 to 1074 B.C., the high-priests of Thebes obtained a position which formed a strong counterpoise to the power of the kings, and at length threw it into the back-ground, if it did not altogether remove it. In inscriptions in the temple of Chon, Herhor, the high-priest at the time of Ramses XIII., receives the title of prince (si suten, king's son) of Cush, a title borne by the viceroys of Napata since Ramses II. They call him "Commander-in-chief of the army in Upper and Lower Egypt;" and finally,[Pg 51] "Si-Amun" and "Si-Ra," and with these titles, which were borne by the Pharaohs, Herhor receives also the symbols of the king. It is also thought that the inscriptions speak of tribute of the Retennu, i. e. the Syrians, which he received.[128] It may be that Herhor rose to the throne after the death of Ramses XIII., or that he reigned during his lifetime, or that he absolutely deposed him. Pianchi, the son of Herhor, is called in the monuments "High-priest of Ammon, Prophet of Mut, Commander of the cavalry of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt;" but the king, whose officer Pianchi was, is not mentioned. On the other hand, Pinotem, the son of this Pianchi, like Herhor, bears on the monuments the addition of a divine name "Miamun," after the manner of the Pharaohs, and royal symbols. A memorial stone of Thebes tells us that Mencheper-Ra, general-in-chief of the army of Upper and Lower Egypt, son of king Miamun Pinotem, marched out in the twenty-fifth year, i. e. in the twenty-fifth year of the reign of Pinotem, to Patores, i. e. Upper Egypt, in order to "restore peace in the land and punish the enemy." The families of Thebes received him with songs of joy; on the fourth intercalary day, on the feast of the birth of Isis, the majesty of Ammon, the king of the gods, was brought forth in procession; Mencheper-Ra implored the sanction of Ammon, that the banished—there were myriads of them—might be brought back, and the god gave his sanction. It seems then that the supremacy of the family of Herhor met with a violent resistance, and that Pinotem nevertheless found himself strong enough in the twenty-fifth year of his reign to publish an act of amnesty. Whether Pinotem's son, Mencheper-Ra,[Pg 52] came to the throne, whether and how the race of the Ramessids became extinct, we do not know.[129] But the period of the extinction of the Ramessids and of the priests of Thebes who contended with them for power, or shared it with them, we may place about the year 1074 B.C.

In Manetho's list the Ramessids are succeeded by a dynasty of seven princes, who belonged to the canton of Tanis (Zoan). Together they are said to have reigned over Egypt 114 years. The first prince of this house, Smendes, must have ascended the throne about 20 years before the time when the people of Israel raised up Saul to be king. The chronology of the Hebrews allows us to establish the fact that the last prince of this house must have come to an end at least ten years before the middle of the tenth century.[130] From this point (960 B.C.), the period already mentioned as the length of the dynasty of the Tanites, carries us back to the year 1074 for the date of the accession of Smendes.

Since the expulsion of the Hyksos the central point of the kingdom had remained for more than 500 years at Thebes. With the accession of the Tanites it was removed to the Delta. Henceforth it was never restored to Upper Egypt or to Thebes. After a reign of 26 years Smendes was succeeded by Psusennes, who sat on the throne for 46 years (1048-1002 B.C.). If it was Psusennes, who took into his protection the young son of the king of Edom, who was saved from David and Joab by the servants of his father, and gave him the sister of his wife in marriage,[131] it is the daughter of Amenophtis, the fourth prince of this house (998-989 B.C.), which Solomon took to wife, whom he honoured above his other wives, and for[Pg 53] whom he built a special house near his new palace (II. 185). Solomon remained on good terms with the successors of Amenophtis. Only a few shields have been preserved from the monuments of this dynasty in the ruins of Tanis; in these we can recognise the name of Smendes in the form of Si-Mentu, of Psusennes I. in the form Psiuncha, of Amenophtis in the form Amenemenkam, and lastly of Psusennes II. in the form Hor Psiuncha.[132]

The last prince of this house, Psusennes II., was succeeded in the year 960B.C. by Sesonchis, the Ssheshonk of the monuments, the Shishak of the Hebrews. With him begins a new dynasty, which, according to Manetho's list, belonged to the canton of Bubastis. In the Western Delta a considerable part of the population, at any rate since the time of the shepherd kings, was of a Semitic character. But families belonging to the nation of the shepherds were not all that remained from those periods; Semitic elements remained in the language and manners of the Egyptians, and these certainly increased in importance owing to the campaigns of the Tuthmosis and Amenophis in Syria, the long settlement of the Hebrews in this district, the relations of Ramses II. to the Hittites; lastly, to the trade of the Phenicians, the friendly relation and lively intercourse which the Tanites maintained since Solomon's time with the kingdom of Israel. The names of the forefathers and descendants of Ssheshonk show that he belonged to a Semitic family living in the canton of Bubastis. His forefathers had risen under the Pharaohs of Tanis; his grandfather, whose name the grandson bore, had married a lady of distinction. The offspring of this marriage, Nemrut (Nimrod), was captain of the body-guard (Mashawasha), and bore the Semitic title,[Pg 54] Ser a mat, i. e. sovereign; at any rate he is so named by his son Ssheshonk on a granite block at Abydus, which enumerates the funds supplied by the son for the libations poured to his father who is buried here—unless we have rather to recognise in this title as well as in the addition to it, "prince of princes," titles of distinction subsequently transferred from the son to the father.[133] In another inscription the same Ssheshonk calls his predecessor Psusennes II. king of Upper Egypt;[134] a memorial stone of Selsilis mentions a double accession of Ssheshonk; the inscription on a statue of the Nile in the British Museum states that king Hor Psiuncha married his daughter Rakamat to Osorkon, the son of Ssheshonk.[135] Hence we may assume that Ssheshonk, the son of Nemrut, became a rival for the throne; that Psusennes II. was perhaps compelled to retire to Upper Egypt, whither Ssheshonk could not penetrate; that a compromise took place with Psusennes, the possessor of the throne, by means of this marriage, which secured the succession to Ssheshonk and his family; and that Ssheshonk subsequently described his rebellion as his first accession, and his accession after the death of Psusennes II. as his second.[136][Pg 55]

However this may be, whether Ssheshonk in the first instance obtained the power over Lower Egypt only, whether he afterwards lost it, or whether he did not obtain the supremacy till after the death of Hor Psiuncha,[137] he took up a different position towards the kingdom of Judah from that occupied by the dynasty of Tanis since the accession of Amenophtis. When flying from Solomon, Jeroboam found refuge and protection with Ssheshonk. When after Solomon's death the ten tribes made Jeroboam their king, as against Rehoboam, Ssheshonk in the year B.C. 949 undertook the campaign against Judah which secured Jeroboam; he confirmed the division, carried away spoil from Judah, and exhibited Israel in dependence on Egypt. The results of this campaign Ssheshonk caused to be set forth in the most splendid manner on the walls of the temple of Karnak, westward of the building which Ramses III. had here erected in the circuit-wall, (I. 177). The picture displays the victorious Pharaoh, and the taxed places as bound figures in a long row (II. 233). Over the row of vanquished places we read that "the good god (the king) returned in peace, after defeating the nations of the North and South; that he led home captive nations[Pg 56] who had never seen Egypt, that he spread the terror of his name as far as the four pillars of the heavens." Ammon says to the king: "My heart is glad, that I have seen thy victories. I have granted that the nations of the South shall be defeated and come to thee, and the nations of the North shall be subject to the greatness of thy name. Their kings throw themselves on the belly, for they are stricken to the ground in their vallies. I have known the splendour of thy thoughts; thou hast carried out the work of my temple at Thebes, the brilliant place, which my heart loves; thou hast begun to build in Hermonthis and Heliopolis."[138] We see what achievements the inscriptions of the Pharaohs can make out of a plundering excursion into the south of Syria: the nations of the North and of the South are overcome; the terror of Ssheshonk is spread to the pillars of the sky.

Besides this picture of his victories on the outer wall, Ssheshonk erected a kind of entrance porch to the southern court of the great temple at Karnak. The inscriptions on the architrave of this porch tell us that Ssheshonk had given command to enlarge the temple of Ammon; that he had made the city of Thebes to live again.[139] On a memorial stone in the quarries of Selsilis, the goddess Mut places the king, "the great conqueror of all nations," accompanied by his son Aupoth,[140] before Ammon of Thebes, Ra-Harmachu of Heliopolis, and Ptah of Memphis. The inscription says: "That is the divine benefactor; Ra wears his shape; he is the image of Harmachu. Ammon has placed him on the throne, in order to complete what he had begun, in the occupation of Egypt for the second time. This is king Ssheshonk; he caused a[Pg 57] new quarry to be opened for the beginning of a structure. Of such a nature is the kindness which he has shown to his father, Ammon Ra." Then Ssheshonk himself says: "It is a beautiful thing to work for Ammon. Grant me a long reign for that which I have done. I have caused a new quarry to be opened for him for the beginning of a work. The high priest of Ammon has carried it out, Aupoth the highest captain of the most famous army, the first of all the warriors of Patores, the son of Ssheshonk."[141] The architect also, who had to erect the portico, Horemsaf, mentions this task in an inscription at Selsilis. In the twenty-first year, i. e. in the twenty-first year of the reign,[142] Ssheshonk had commanded him to obtain the best stones of Selsilis, in order to erect buildings for the king of the gods, and to surround them with a strong wall.[143]

Ssheshonk was succeeded by his son Osorkon, the husband of the daughter of Psusennes II., the last king of the preceding dynasty. It is supposed that in him we may discover the Cushite Serach, who, according to the Books of Chronicles, invaded the kingdom of Judah in the fifteenth year of king Asa, i. e. in 918 B.C., but was defeated by him at Maresa (II. 233). The monuments of Egypt only mention to us the names of the two wives of Osorkon. Osorkon was followed by Takeloth, Osorkon II., Ssheshonk II., Takeloth II., Ssheshonk III., Pimai, and Ssheshonk IV. No monuments of these kings have come down to us except memorial stones in the tombs of the Apis on the plateau of Memphis. These memorials show that the regulations of Ssheshonk I. to give to one of his sons the office of[Pg 58] high priest at Thebes, and with this office to combine the command of divisions of the army, and to put other divisions of the army in the hands of other members of the royal house—regulations obviously intended to strengthen the power of the throne—were observed by his successors. We find the sons of his successors as high priests of Thebes and Memphis, as commanders of the troops of Thebes, Hermopolis, and Heracleopolis, as "princes (i. e. leaders) of the Mashawasha."[144] We remember the struggles which the earliest successors of Ramses II. had to carry on against the Libyans, especially against the Mashawasha, or Maxyians. From the time of Ramses III. the body-guard of the Pharaohs seems to have consisted mainly of Libyans, especially of Mashawasha; the warrior caste of Egypt appears to have been chiefly kept up and supplemented by Libyans. The father of Ssheshonk was, as observed, the captain of the Mashawasha. Ssheshonk, the son of Osorkon II. (afterwards Ssheshonk II.), as high priest of Memphis buried in the twenty-third year of the reign of his father an Apis, who had died in that year. Takeloth, the son of this Ssheshonk II. (afterwards Takeloth II.), was high priest of Ammon of Thebes. In the fifteenth year of the reign of his father a rebellion broke out in the cantons of the South and North. He fought without ceasing for many years at the side of his father, and gained victories over the rebels.[145] According to the Apis-stones, Ssheshonk III. reigned more than 50 years. In the twenty-eighth year of his reign an Apis was born, which lived 26 years, and was buried in the second year of king Pimai under the superintendence of Petise, the son of the high priest of Memphis, Takeloth, and the royal princess Thisbastir. The successor of this Apis, which was discovered in the same year of king Pimai,[Pg 59] died in the fourth year of Ssheshonk IV., a third in the eleventh, and a fourth in the thirty-seventh year of the same reign.[146]

According to Manetho's list, the nine princes of this dynasty of Bubastis reigned altogether 120 years; but the sum of the reigns, according to the items in the list, only reaches 116 years. The years of the reigns given on special occasions, on the monuments mentioned, give at least 150 years for six alone of these nine princes. If we maintain the assertion of Manetho, the dynasty of the Bubastites reigned from the year 960 B.C. to the year 840 B.C.; if we calculate the length of the rule of this dynasty according to the generations of the princes, then, even if the length of each generation is taken only at 20 years, they must at least have reigned 180 years, i. e. from 960 to 780 B.C.[147] That the rule of the Bubastites ended about the year 780 B.C., at any rate in the minds of the chronographers who have preserved Manetho's list in the excerpt, follows from the fact that our excerpts put the celebration of the first Olympian festival in the reign of Petubastis, the prince who immediately succeeds the Bubastites. We may therefore assume that the Bubastites reigned over Egypt from the year 960 to about the year 780 B.C.

The successors of Petubastis of Tanis, whose date thus falls about the year 775 B.C., are, according to Manetho, Osorkon (the third of this name), Psammus, and Zet. Diodorus tells us of a Tnephachtus, king of Egypt, who carried on war with the Arabs. One day, when in the desert, there was a lack of the means of subsistence, and Tnephachtus after a day of fasting[Pg 60] enjoyed so highly a scanty meal, that he abominated luxury, and cursed the king who first introduced it. So earnest was he with this curse that he had it engraved in sacred characters in the temple of Zeus at Thebes.[148] Plutarch also tells us: On a campaign against the Arabs the baggage was left behind, and Technactis (Tnephachtus) gladly satisfied himself with the food which was at hand, and when he subsequently fell into a deep sleep on the straw, he was so pleased with this simple mode of life that he cursed Menes who first seduced the Egyptians from a simple and parsimonious mode of life, and caused this curse to be engraved on a memorial stone, with the sanction of the priests.[149] The son of this Tnephachtus is called Bocchoris by Diodorus and Plutarch; Manetho's list puts a king Bocchoris after Zet, and describes him as belonging to the district of Sais. The date of Bocchoris is fixed by the fact that the seventh celebration of the Olympian games, i. e. the year 752, occurred during his reign.[150] If Petubastis reigned, as we saw, about the year 775 B.C., and Bocchoris ascended the throne about 753 B.C., the date of his father Tnephachtus, who is not mentioned in Manetho's list (he must be meant by the Zet of the list), will fall in the period between 770 and 753 B.C. We can only assume that Tnephachtus, in the time of Petubastis or Osorkon III. who succeeded Petubastis, rebelled against the reigning Pharaoh, and obtained the power, and that the list of Manetho has passed him over as the opponent of the legitimate princes. As a fact we shall find that other usurpers beside Tnephachtus rose up beside and against Petubastis and Osorkon; that Osorkon was restricted to Bubastis, and as the[Pg 61] inscriptions of Thebes mention Psammus (Psimut) we may further suppose that he retired from Tanis, where Manetho's list places him, to Upper Egypt.

The extinction of the military vigour of Egypt under the later Ramessids, the formation of the body-guard and army of Libyan mercenaries, bore its natural fruit. The disruption of the state-power, which thus begun as early as the later Bubastites, led under Petubastis and Osorkon III. to the complete ruin of the kingdom. The commanders of the army in the districts, and no doubt other men of great position and ambition, threw off obedience, made themselves independent, and supported by their soldiers gained an independent power. Nine hundred years after the expulsion of the shepherds the ancient kingdom broke up into a series of separate dominions. A memorial stone discovered in the remains of Napata, near Mount Barkal, displays to us quite a different picture of the condition of Egypt about the middle of the eighth century from that which we should imagine when we read in Manetho an apparently unbroken succession of Pharaohs. On that stone Osorkon is indeed mentioned, but only as king of the city of Bubastis. Beside him we find Petisi of Athribis (west of Bubastis), Anchor of Sesennu (Hermopolis minor), Nimrod (Nemrut) of Sesennu (Hermopolis major, now Ashmunein), Ssheshonk of Busiris, Pefabast of Chnensu (Heraclea major), Pithenef of Pisabtu; fourteen or fifteen princes, and among them Tafnecht (Tnephachtus) of Sais. It is clear from this that Petubastis and Osorkon were not able to maintain the royal authority; that Osorkon was limited to Bubastis; the chiefs of the rest of the land stood beside him with equal right and equal power. The same memorial teaches us that Tnephachtus of Sais gained Memphis; that he undertook to subjugate the remaining princes[Pg 62] to his supremacy. He succeeded in forcing king Osorkon and the chiefs of Upper Egypt into obedience; they recognised in him their superior; and he attempted to make even the princes of Upper Egypt, i. e. the Begs of the Mamelukes in that region, his vassals.

The Amenemha and Sesurtesen had once carried the southern border of Egypt to Semne and Kumne. After them the Tuthmosis and Amenophis forced their way as far as Mount Barkal; Lower as well as Upper Nubia became a province of Egypt. The Ramessids had maintained this province, and governed it by viceroys. Amenophis III. and Ramses II. filled Nubia as far as Mount Barkal with their temples; thus the worship observed in Egypt became dominant in Nubia also, especially the worship of the god Ammon, whom Upper Egypt and the Pharaohs of Thebes regarded as the highest deity. With the religious worship, and the government of Egyptian magistrates, the language, alphabet, and manners of Egypt became current in Nubia, although the people retained their ancient tongue. After a continuance of 500 years, when the Egyptian power began to sink under the later Ramessids, and the high priests of Ammon at Thebes rose against them,—before the year 1100 B.C. the supremacy of Egypt over the South became extinguished. The high priest Herhor is the last who bears the title of "King's son of Cush;" under the Tanites, Smendes and his successors, the monuments no longer mention any viceroy of Cush.[151] We may, therefore, assume that Nubia was an independent state from the year 1100 B.C. onwards. Yet the long continuance of the Egyptian rule had caused the style and civilisation of Egypt to strike firm roots[Pg 63] here. The city, which was adorned by Amenophis III. and Ramses II. with splendid buildings; the Neb (Napata) of the hieroglyphics, the Merua or Berua of the native language, was the seat of the princes of the new state, in which, before as after, the style, worship, and writing of Egypt was predominant; the language also, which the new monarchy used in its documents, was the language of Egypt. The name of the first independent ruler of Napata, the king of Ethiopia, as the Greeks call him, whom we know, is mentioned in the memorial stone already spoken of. The name and attribute are Egyptian: Pianchi Miamun.[152] In the twenty-first year of his reign, in the month Thot, so the memorial tells us, it was announced to king Pianchi that Tnephachtus of Sais and Memphis had possessed himself of the whole of the land of the West. "The princes and lords of the cities are like dogs before his feet. All princes who recognise his power, these he allows to remain, each in his own canton, as lords and princes of the cities." The princes in Upper Egypt who were not yet subject to Tafnecht, sent to Pianchi "messages continually, whether he also would wish to know nothing of the land of the South," i. e. whether he also was inclined to abandon Upper Egypt to Tafnecht.

The condition of Egypt was thus inviting enough to induce a power, strongly established in the South, to extend its dominion to the North, at least over Upper Egypt. Upper Egypt was naturally from an ancient period in closer relation to Nubia and Napata than Lower Egypt. The removal of the residence and centre of the kingdom to Lower Egypt at the time of the[Pg 64] Tanites and Bubastites must have contributed to awaken anew the old opposition between the upper and lower land: and in its turn, when Tafnecht had got the upper hand in Lower Egypt, and forced his way to Upper Egypt, this opposition strengthened the wish to seek support and protection on the upper Nile, before submitting to a Saite, a prince of Lower Egypt.

King Pianchi sent his army to aid the princes of Upper Egypt. According to the memorial stone Tafnecht, who with his vassals awaited the Ethiopians at Chnensu (Heracleopolis major), was defeated. The Ethiopians then turned upon Ashmunein, which was defended against them by its prince, Nemrut. Here, however, as the stone admits, they suffered a severe defeat. At the beginning of the next year, Pianchi himself set forth, celebrated the festival of Ammon at Thebes, commenced the regular siege of Ashmunein by throwing up a wall of circumvallation, and then for three days bombarded the city. Then Nemrut besought Pianchi to receive him among his servants and accept his tribute. Pianchi marched into the city, sacrificed to the god and lord of the city, "to his father Thot," bulls, calves, and birds; and the people of Ashmunein sang: "Beautiful is the Horus, who dwells in his city, the son of Ra, Pianchi; and Pianchi repaired to the house of king Nemrut, to his treasury and the house of his possessions." When Nemrut had surrendered to Pianchi, Pefabast of Chnensu also appeared with gifts, with gold, silver, precious stones, and horses, threw himself on the ground before Pianchi, and said: "Hail to thee, Horus, mighty Bull! I am sunken in darkness; give clearness to my countenance; I will be a servant together with my subjects, who will bring presents." When four other cities had opened their gates, Pianchi appeared with his ships before Memphis,[Pg 65] and promised to spare the inhabitants of the city: "the children should not weep" if they opened the gates to him; he would merely sacrifice to Ptah and the gods of Memphis. Tafnecht threw 8000 of his warriors into the city. Yet Pianchi succeeded in taking the city from the harbour in open battle; "many were slain, many captured alive;" Pianchi caused the temples to be protected; purified himself, and offered a great sacrifice "to his father Ptah." Then Aupoth and all the princes of Lower Egypt submitted, and Pianchi marched to On (Heliopolis); and on the height near On, in the sight of Ra at his rising, he offered a great sacrifice, and went into the temple to behold the god in the Benben chamber. "He was alone; he undid the bars, and opened the doors, and beheld his father Ra, and the morning barque of Ra, and the evening barque of Tum. Then he closed the doors and sealed them." After this, Osorkon (of Bubastis) and Petise (of Athribis) submitted. Tafnecht himself sent a messenger to Pianchi; he could not stand before his fire; Pianchi may receive his possessions for his treasury. Pianchi on his part sent the "leader of the prayers" and his chief captain, and Tafnecht took the oath: "he would not transgress Pianchi's commands, nor disregard his words; he would do no harm to any prince against his will; he would do according to the words of Pianchi." Then the ships were laden with silver, gold, copper, and other good things of Lower Egypt, and Pianchi went up the stream, and the dwellers on the bank sang: "O royal conqueror, thou hast come, and hast smitten Lower Egypt; thou makest the men to be women. Thy work will continue, thou king and friend of Thebes."[153][Pg 66]

This campaign of Pianchi from Napata, the first attempt of a ruler of Ethiopia to possess himself of Egypt, must be placed about the year 760 B.C.[154] We can hardly contest the successes which the memorial stone ascribes to Pianchi. Pianchi as a fact took Chnensu and Memphis; he reached Heliopolis; most of the vassals of Tnephachtus paid homage to him. But Pianchi's own narrative does not maintain that he took Sais, and that Tnephachtus appeared before him. He makes a treaty with Tnephachtus; he is contented that Tnephachtus recognises his supremacy, and at once turns back to Ethiopia with the presents or tribute of the vassals of Tnephachtus. From this it follows that Tnephachtus maintained the Lower Delta; that Pianchi either made no vigorous attempt to conquer this district, or was unable to conquer it; that he did not believe that he could maintain his position permanently in Egypt, and therefore was content with a recognition of his supremacy. In any case, after Pianchi's retirement, Tnephachtus re-established his power over the princes of these districts; he must even have extended it further to the south, than was the case before Pianchi's campaign, if, as Diodorus states, he set up inscriptions in the temple of Zeus, i. e. of Ammon, at Thebes, and could bequeath the sovereignty over Egypt to his son. The position which Manetho's list and the[Pg 67] accounts of Western nations give to his son Bocchoris, is in favour of the assertion, that Tnephachtus succeeded in subjugating all Egypt to his power. It is easily conceivable that to such a vigorous and indomitable warrior the ceremonial and the splendour of the Pharaohs' table and kitchen, the royal bed-chambers and couches, were highly distasteful.

Of Bocchoris, the son of Tnephachtus, "the wise, the celebrated in song," who succeeded his father in the year 753 B.C., Athenæus tells us that he lived as simply as his father.[155] Diodorus narrates that he was of a very weak body, but surpassed all his forefathers in acuteness of mind: his decisions were so excellent that many were quoted even in his day. The Egyptians reckoned the wise Bocchoris as their fourth law-giver; he founded the laws of the monarchy, and from him proceeded the rules about debt and contract.[156] Any one who borrowed money without a written contract was to be free of the debt if he swore that he owed nothing; any one who advanced money on a written document could not receive back more than the capital and an equal value in interest. Only the property, not the person, of the debtor could be claimed by the creditor.[157] A decision of Bocchoris is preserved in Plutarch. An Egyptian youth was seized with love for the courtezan Thonis, who demanded a great sum of money. Then he dreamt that he had enjoyed her love, and his desire ceased; but she claimed the hire agreed upon before a court of law. When Bocchoris heard the plaint he ordered the defendant to put the sum of money demanded into a jar, to take this in his hand, and carry it backwards and forwards. The courtezan was to cling to the shadow: fancy was the shadow of reality.[158] In another passage[Pg 68] Plutarch narrates that when Bocchoris was in an angry mood, Isis sent him an adder, that he might wind it round his head, and when overshadowed by it, give just judgment; an anecdote which obviously contains the explanation given by the Greeks of the Uræus-diadem of the Pharaohs; though the connection of the story with Bocchoris speaks for his fame as a judge, a fame which he enjoyed among the Greeks, even at the time of Alexander, on the ground of Egyptian tradition. All these statements show that the "much sung" Bocchoris[159] was in the recollection of the Egyptians a ruler who again restored the royal power, fixed its conditions and preserved them by his judicial decisions; who brought about order and justice in all the transactions of life during a period of disturbance and confusion. This description is not belied by the statement which is also made, that he was covetous of money.[160] The crown was certainly not in a position to dispense with means, when mercenaries had become of such prime importance in Egypt.

We know nothing of any deeds of Bocchoris in war. We only find that he looked inactively on the great change which took place in Syria in the last decade of his reign. When Assyria planted her foot ever more firmly in Syria (p. 38), the eyes of Israel were directed to Egypt. When Gaza, the most southern fortress of Palestine, fell into the hands of the Egyptians, and the prince sought protection in Egypt (p. 48), we hear nothing of any arrangements of Bocchoris. No doubt he found himself threatened by a neighbour nearer and more dangerous. There are no monuments of Bocchoris in existence, with the exception of the sarcophagus of an Apis, which stood in the same chamber in which was[Pg 69] placed the Apis which died in the thirty-seventh year of Ssheshonk IV. The name of the king is here Bokenranef.[161] This burial of the sacred bull of Memphis in the traditional manner contradicts the narratives of the Western writers, that Bocchoris did not observe the prescripts of religion, and caused the sacred white bull of Ra at Heliopolis to fight against a wild bull, a proceeding which caused a rebellion among the Egyptians.[162] Statements of this kind, like the stories of portents, which happened in his time,—that a goat spoke, that a lamb was born with eight feet, two tails, two heads, and two horns, and spoke,[163]—are intended no doubt to supply a motive for and prepare the blow which fell upon Egypt and Bocchoris, and which the king's wisdom and justice could not prevent.

What Pianchi was unable to carry out was accomplished by his second successor, Sabakon.[164] From the books of Manetho nothing has been preserved beyond the observation, that Sabakon the Ethiopian took Bocchoris prisoner in war, and caused him to be burnt alive; Herodotus tells us that Sabakon, the king of the Ethiopians, marched through Egypt with a mighty army of his people, and the king of Egypt (Herodotus calls him Anysis) fled into the marshes. Sabakon was a mild ruler, and did not punish any Egyptian with death. Those who had committed an offence, he condemned to raise the dams which Sesostris had caused[Pg 70] to be thrown up round the cities, according to the measure of the offence, and thus the cities of Egypt became far higher; "and highest of all, in my opinion," Herodotus adds, "was the city of Bubastis."[165] "Though by birth an Ethiopian," says Diodorus of Sabakon, "he surpassed his predecessors in piety and gentleness. Of this it is sufficient proof that he did away with the severest penalty, the penalty of death, and caused those who were condemned to death to perform task-work in chains in the cities, since he was of opinion that the reduction of the punishment would not only be an advantage to the condemned persons, but also bring great advantage to the cities." By these task-labourers he caused many dams to be raised, and many needful canals to be cut.[166] With the gentleness of Sabakon, thus praised by Herodotus and Diodorus, the statement of Manetho, that he burnt Bocchoris alive, and the statement of Herodotus, that he put to death Necho of Sais, do not very well agree.

The last Bubastites, Petubastis and Osorkon, had not been able to maintain the power of the crown against the lords of the districts, and the brave and skilful attempt to restore the power of the Pharaohs made by Tnephachtus and Bocchoris was wrecked. After Bocchoris succumbed to the Ethiopians in the year 730 B.C.[167] Egypt obeyed a foreign ruler. The[Pg 71] king of Napata was also the Pharaoh of Egypt; Egypt and Meroe were united. The chief importance of the change thus accomplished lay in the fact that the valley of the Nile, from the mouths as far as[Pg 72] Dongola, was united into one state; that the warlike power of Egypt, which had become extinct under the later Ramessids, and then was replaced by Libyan mercenaries to the ruin of Egypt, was now replaced by the unspent vigour of the Ethiopians; and the combination of the latter with the rich means and resources of Egypt availed to strengthen the country considerably, and restore her to her previous position. For the internal condition of Egypt the new sovereignty brought hardly any other change than this, that the rulers now found a strong point of support in their own land. The dynasties which, so far as we can see, Tnephachtus and Bocchoris overcame or removed, we find again at the head of their districts under the Ethiopians. It is possible that oppressed or expelled families among these invited or supported Sabakon's invasion of Egypt, just as in the preceding generation the princes of Upper Egypt summoned Pianchi to support them against the father of Bocchoris. That sovereigns and hereditary lords were at the head of the districts of Egypt under Sabaka and his successors of Meroe is beyond a doubt. Thus the rule of Sabakon and his Ethiopian successors might appear as a restoration of the old state of affairs in contrast to the innovations of Tnephachtus and Bocchoris, and the more so, as these rulers jealously adopted the national worship. We saw how earnest Pianchi was in visiting the temples of Egypt; how he offered sacrifice to his father Thot, his father Ptah, his father Ra, and saw the last in his shrine at Heliopolis; the memorial stone even assures us that of the princes who submitted to him he allowed those only to come into his presence at that time who had eaten no fish, i. e. who strictly observed the rules of purification. It was the reverence of the priests, the participation in[Pg 73] the worship, the correct behaviour, in which Sabakon and his Ethiopian successors come forward as genuine followers of the Pharaohs, which appear to have won for Sabakon—who is to the Greeks the representative of the Ethiopian dynasty—that reputation for gentleness and justice which Herodotus and Diodorus repeat from the tradition of the Egyptians. At the temples at Memphis,[168] at Luxor, and Karnak, Sabakon undertook works of restoration. His name and title here are Raneferka Shabaka. On the pillars of the main gateway at Karnak the goddess Hathor embraces him; the inscription on this gate describes him as "the good god, the giver of life for ever, like the sun," and declares that he has received the tribute of the negroes, and the tribute of the Chalu, i. e. the inhabitants of Palestine. How the latter statement is to be explained will become clear afterwards; we shall see that Sabakon had much better reason to be silent about the events in Syria than to boast of them.

Sabakon died in the year 717 B.C.,[169] and left the empire over Napata and Egypt to his own son Sebichus,[Pg 74] as Manetho calls him; Shabataka as the name is given on monuments at Memphis.[170] His successor was Tirhaka, the Taharka of the monuments. The list of Manetho describes him as not being the son of his predecessor. We do not know in what way he came to the throne of Egypt; it appears that he got the crown by force; we can only establish the fact that he obtained the sovereign power in the year 703 B.C.[171] Considerable relics of his buildings remain in his native land at Napata. Among them are especially prominent the ruins of a great temple, just as all the buildings there are wholly in Egyptian style.[172] In Egypt Tirhaka's name occurs frequently on the walls of Karnak. On the portals of the temple of Medinet Habu, we see him before the face of Ammon brandishing his war-club over ten bearded forms. The inscription tells us that he overcame the black land (Kemi, Egypt), and the red land; on a memorial stone of Dongola the names of the regions and tribes are given, which he subjugated there in the distant south; names quite unknown and inexplicable to us.[173] With Megasthenes it is the Ethiopian Tearkon (Tirhaka), a mighty warrior, who subjugated Libya, advanced as far as the Pillars of Hercules, and even crossed into Europe.[174] We shall see that as soon as he ascended the throne his attention[Pg 75] was occupied in the East, and that he fought with success in Syria at this time. What he may have afterwards accomplished against the negroes, and perhaps against tribes of Libya, in almost thirty years we cannot ascertain accurately. The severest struggles awaited him in the last decade of his reign, in which a mighty opponent rose up against him, with whom he wrestled stubbornly but without success.


[127] Vol. i. 179.

[128] Lepsius, "Abh. Berl. Akad." 1856, s. 258; Brugsch, "Hist. of Egypt," II. p. 193.

[129] It ends in Brugsch, loc. cit. II. 198, with Ramses XVI.

[130] II. 229, note.

[131] II. 155.

[132] Maspero reads Psiuncha; Brugsch, Pisebkhan.

[133] In the unpublished inscription of Abydus in Brugsch, "Hist. of Egypt," II. p. 199.

[134] Brugsch, loc. cit. II. p. 204.

[135] According to Brugsch, Rakamat, or Karamat, was not the wife of Osorkon, but of Ssheshonk, loc. cit., p. 204.

[136] To make Pithut, Ssheshonk, Nemrut, and Ssheshonk II., as well as Panrechnes or Pallash-Nisu, kings of Assyria, and place a conquest of Egypt by Assyria at the end of the twenty-first dynasty (Brugsch, "Hist. of Egypt," II. p. 198), because Nemrut or Nemaroth is called on the stone of Abydus "Ser a mat," and "prince of princes," appears to me absolutely impossible. How could one of the kings of Asshur, who, in the service of Asshur, Samas, and Bin, overthrew the nations, allow himself to be buried near Osiris of Abydus?—how could his son perform Egyptian funeral rites for him there? The Books of the Hebrews must have preserved some knowledge of a conquest of Egypt in the time of David and Solomon, in the first half of the tenth century—how could the armies of Assyria have come to Egypt except through Syria? Tiglath Pilesar I., about 1100 B.C., touched northern Syria merely in passing; not till the ninth century did Assurnasirpal again come as far as Mount Amanus and the coast of the Phenicians, and Shalmanesar as far as Damascus. A hundred years later Tiglath Pilesar II. first planted a firm foot in Syria. The Semitic (?) character of the names of the princes of the twenty-second dynasty, who are also distinguished as eager worshippers of the gods of Egypt, as well as the Semitic nationality of the six or eight servants, who, according to the stone of Abydus, were allotted to the plots of ground for the funeral service of Nemaroth at Abydus, are sufficiently explained by what we know of the mingling of the population in the Western Delta, and of other Semitic influence in Egypt.

[137] It ought perhaps to be observed that Shishak (1 Kings xi. 40), is not called Pharaoh, but Melek Mizraim.

[138] Brugsch, "Hist. d'Egypte," p. 227.

[139] Brugsch, "Hist. d'Egypte," p. 222.

[140] Others read Shuput.

[141] Brugsch, "Hist. of Egypt," II. 212.

[142] According to Manetho's list, Sesonchis reigned 21 years.

[143] Brugsch, loc. cit. II. p. 198.

[144] Sera en mashush.

[145] Chabas, "Mélanges," Ser. 2, pp. 73-107.

[146] Lepsius, "Abh. Berl. Akad. Phil. Hist. Klasse," 1856, s. 264. Mariette, "Bull. Archéolog. Athen. Franc." 1855, pp. 93, 98-100.

[147] Cp. Von Gutschmid, "Beiträge zur Geschichte des alten Orients," s. 104, seqq.

[148] Diod. 1, 45.

[149] Plut. "de Isid." c. 8; cf. Athenæus, p. 418.

[150] Joseph. "c. Apionem," 2, 2, 6.

[151] Mariette, "Revue Archéolog." 1865, 12, 178.

[152] Pianchi is also called the son of the high priest Herhor (p. 51). But this coincidence does not compel us to explain the kings of Napata as descendants of that Herhor who lived 400 years before Pianchi of Napata.

[153] De Rougé, "Mémoire sur une inscript. de Piankhi;" Brugsch, "Hist. of Egypt," I. 129; II. 243, 247.

[154] I have shown above that Petubastis came to the throne about the year 775 B.C., and Bocchoris, the son of Tnephachtus, about 753 B.C.; Tnephachtus, therefore, must be placed in the time between 770-753 B.C. Thus the time of the campaign of Pianchi is fixed. To throw back the campaign nearly 100 years is not possible, owing to the mention of Osorkon, the names of Nemrut, Ssheshonk, Petise, which belong to the house of the Bubastites, and the date of Tnephachtus. If the lists of Assurbanipal mention a Ssheshonk of Busiris, a Tafnecht—not of Sais, but of Buni or Bunubu; a Pefabast, not of Chnensu but of Zoan—the reappearance of these names can be explained by the fact that these dynastic families have also been preserved among the Ethiopians (p. 72).

[155] Athenæus, p. 418; Diod. 1, 74.

[156] Diod. 1, 94.

[157] Diod. 1, 79.

[158] Plut. "Demetr." c. 27.

[159] Ælian. "Hist. An." 12, 3.

[160] Diod. 1, 94.

[161] Mariette, "Bab. Athen. Franc." p. 58-62.

[162] Ælian. "Hist. An." 11, 11.

[163] Ælian. loc. cit. 12, 3.

[164] De Rougé, "Mélanges d'Archéol." 1, 37, concludes from the monuments of Tirhaka and the statue of Ameniritis, that Kashta succeeded Pianchi, that Sabakon and the others are children of Kashta (?) According to Brugsch the -ka in Shabaka and Shabataka is the attached article of the Barabra language. Hence it is explained how Saba(ka) can become Seveh among the Hebrews, or Sabhi among the Assyrians. Cf. Oppert. "Mémoire sur les rapports de l'Egypte et de l'Assyrie," p. 12-14.

[165] Herod. 2, 137-141.

[166] Diod. 1, 45, 65.

[167] I have already been able to fix the end of the Ramessids, the date of the Tanites and Bubastites, by the date of the accession of Shishak in the Hebrew reckoning; the length of the dynasty of the Tanites in Manetho; and the length of the Bubastites as corrected by the monuments, and the synchronism of the first Olympiad for Petubastis. For the period from the end of the Bubastites to the accession of Sabakon, the important points are the seventh Olympiad for Bocchoris, and the sarcophagus of the Apis of Bokenranef. If Bocchoris came to the throne in the year 753 B.C., Ssheshonk IV. died in the year 780 B.C.; if this was the thirty-seventh or thirty-eighth of his reign, the successor of the Apis buried in the thirty-seventh year of Ssheshonk might certainly live to the year 748, the sixth year of Bocchoris according to my reckoning. It is decisive for Sabakon's accession in Egypt that Hoshea of Israel undoubtedly ascended the throne in 734 B.C. (p. 16, note; 48). Shalmanesar IV. of Assyria marched against Israel in the year 726 B.C., when he had discovered the conspiracy of Hoshea with Seveh (Sabakon, p. 69). Hoshea must, therefore, have negotiated with Seveh in 727 B.C. at the latest, and probably earlier. Sabakon must have been previously established on the throne of Egypt. He cannot, therefore, have conquered Egypt later than 730 B.C. Bocchoris therefore reigned 23 years (753-730 B.C.); the time which Manetho allots to Bocchoris, six years, is too short for the completion of his legislation and the attainment of that fame as a legislator which he left behind him, according to the account of the Greeks. That Tirhaka reigned over Meroe and Egypt in the year 702 at the latest, is proved by the battle of Eltekeh, which was fought in 701 B.C. (p. 125). If Seveh, who negotiated with Hoshea, is supposed to be Sabataka, the conquest of Egypt by Sabakon must be put in the year 739. The Apis discovered in the twenty-sixth year of Tirhaka and buried in the twentieth year of Psammetichus, shows that according to the chronology of that period, Psammetichus was regarded as the immediate successor of Tirhaka. According to the reign of 54 years allotted to him by Herodotus and Manetho, Psammetichus begins in 664 B.C., since his death is fixed with certainty in 610 B.C. If Tirhaka's reign over Egypt began in the year 703 B.C., the year 678 would be the twenty-sixth of his reign; the Apis lived down to the twentieth year of the reign of Psammetichus, i. e. down to the year 645 B.C.—consequently 30 years, an age (the number on the inscription is illegible), which even a less carefully tended bull might attain. Tirhaka reigned from 703 to 664 B.C., i. e. 39 years. If the lists of Manetho, according to our excerpts, allow him only 18 years (Syncellus gives 20), this is obviously due to the fact that the reigns of Stephinates, Nechepsus, and Necho, who ought to stand side by side with Tirhaka, with seven, six, and eight years, i. e. with 21 years in all, are deducted from the reign of Tirhaka, in order to place these three princes after him. To the predecessors of Tirhaka, Sabakon and Sebichus, Manetho allows eight and fourteen years. The monuments of Egypt show that Sabakon reigned at least 12 years; Sabakon must, therefore, according to these dates, have begun to reign in Egypt not later than 729 B.C. (664 + 39 + 26). The Assyrian monuments show that Sabakon fought with Sargon at Raphia in the year 720 B.C., and his successor negotiated with him; that Tirhaka fought with Sennacherib in Syria in 701 B.C., and that he was at war with Assurbanipal about the year 666 B.C.

[168] Goodwin in Chabas, "Mélanges," 1, 249 ff.

[169] Among the Hebrews, the king with whom Hoshea of Israel (734-722 B.C.), negotiates is called Seveh (So). Sargon's inscriptions name the opponent against whom he fought at Raphia in the year 720 B.C. "Sabhi, Sar of the land of Muzur," and also "Sabhi Siltannu of Muzur." The inscription of Karnak gives Sabakon's (Shabaka's) twelfth year; we must, therefore, although Manetho's list allows him only eight years, assume that Sabakon was the opponent of Sargon at Raphia, as stated in a preceding note. If Sabakon died immediately after his twelfth year, he died in 717 B.C. The ruler of Egypt who pays tribute to Sargon in the year 716, is repeatedly called by the Assyrian inscriptions, "Pirhu (Pharaoh), Sar of Muzur." So in the cylinder of G. Smith ("Disc." p. 295), the ruler of Egypt, who unites with Ashdod in the year 711 B.C., is called "Pirhu Sar of Muzur;" finally, the prince who delivers up Yaman, when it has been mentioned that Yaman fled beyond Egypt into the border land of Miluhhi, is called by Sargon "Sar Miluhhi." The Pharaoh, Sar Muzur, whom we find on the throne of Egypt in 716 to 711 B.C., and the Sar Miluhhi, who gives up Yaman, can only be Shabataka-Sebichus, the successor of Sabakon.

[170] Mariette, "Monuments," pl. 29 e.

[171] Not much weight could be laid on the observation in the Palatine codex of Hieronymus (Jerome); Tarachus (ab Æthiopia duxit exercitum), Sebico interfecto Ægyptiis regnavit annis xx.; but in the inscription of Medinet Habu Tirhaka calls himself conqueror of Kemi, i. e. of Egypt.

[172] Lepsius, "Briefe," s. 239, 275.

[173] Brugsch, "Geogr." 1, 163.

[174] Strabo, p. 61, 686, 687. Büdinger's view ("Ægypt. Forschung. Herodots," 2, 32), that we must recognise Tirhaka in the Etearchus of Herodotus might be adopted if the narrative did not too definitely point out travelling Cyrenæans as the source; and the founding of Cyrene cannot be carried back to the time of Tirhaka.



[Pg 76]



When Tiglath Pilesar ascended the throne of Assyria, he first compelled Babylonia to recognise his supremacy; after that he advanced into the table land of Iran, as far as Arachosia, and there at the least maintained his supremacy far and wide over the Medes. To the North he fought against Nairi and Urarti, against Kummukh and Tubal (743 B.C.); even the union into which the distressed princes of that region entered against him did not protect them; after a second subjugation the Tubal, i. e. the Tibarenes, received a prince from the hand of Tiglath Pilesar (735 B.C.). Meanwhile he had already overthrown Arpad in the West, which had resisted his predecessors so vigorously in a struggle which continued for three years; received tribute from Karchemish, Damascus, and Tyre; and placed the region of Amanus, Lebanon, Hadrach, and several districts of Hamath under Assyrian viceroys (742-740 B.C.). Two years afterwards the princes of Cilicia, of Hamath, of Byblus, Menahem king of Israel, and Zabibieh, the queen of the Arabs, submitted (738 B.C.). The appeal of Ahaz for help brought him again into Syria; after a struggle of three years Damascus was overthrown, Israel deprived of a portion of her population, and given to another prince, the cities of the Philistines conquered, the[Pg 77] Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites overthrown, and at length Samsieh, the queen of the Arabs, was defeated (734-732 B.C.). This complete subjugation of Syria was followed by new conflicts on the lower Euphrates. Nabu-sabzi and Kinziru were overpowered; Kinziru became a vassal of Babylon, and when Merodach Baladan paid homage at Sapiya, the dominion of Tiglath Pilesar extended to the shore of the Persian Gulf (731 B.C.). He now called himself king of Asshur and Babel, and in the last years of his reign received the tribute of tribes from the south of Arabia. After an eventful reign of 18 years which gained for Assyria the supremacy over Media, Syria, and Babylonia, Tiglath Pilesar died in the year 727 B.C.

His successor was Shalmanesar IV. No inscriptions have been preserved from the short reign of this king. The astronomical canon represents a change in the succession of Babylon at the death of Tiglath Pilesar; in the place of the joint reign of Chinzirus and Polus, in which we believed that we might recognise the supremacy of Tiglath Pilesar, obscurely given in Babylonian tradition under the name Polus (Phul), and the vassal-reign of Kinziru (p. 9), comes the reign of Elulæus in the year 726 B.C. That Chinzirus and Polus died in the same year, that Kinziru died in the same year as Tiglath Pilesar, would be remarkable, but by no means impossible. It is more probable that Shalmanesar found it advisable to make a change in the vassal king at Babylon, and that after his accession he placed Elulæus (Illuhillu) there as a vassal. Shalmanesar's attention was soon occupied in another direction.

Saved by the arms of Assyria from the overpowering advance of the Damascenes and Israelites, the Philistines and Edomites, Ahaz, king of Judah, had paid[Pg 78] homage to Tiglath Pilesar at Damascus. "When Ahaz saw the altar which was at Damascus," so we are told by the Books of Kings, "he sent a pattern of it to Uriah the priest, and Uriah built the altar after this pattern, and when Ahaz came from Damascus he sacrificed on this altar, and offered burnt offerings and meat offerings, and poured out his drink offering, and sprinkled the blood of his thank offering on the altar. The iron altar, which stood before Jehovah, he removed, and the iron sea he took from the oxen and placed it on the pavement (II. 184). And Ahaz bade Uriah offer the burnt offering in the morning, and the meat offering in the evening, and the burnt and meat offering of the king, and all the sacrifices of the whole people of the land, on the new altar, and the king's entry he turned to the house of Jehovah for the king of Assyria."[175] According to this Ahaz, in order to prove his submission to his sovereign, altered the altar and arrangements of the temple at Jerusalem after the pattern of an altar on which he had seen Tiglath Pilesar sacrifice to his gods at Damascus, and the ritual there observed.[176] The high priest Uriah submitted. He not only allowed the king to sacrifice in person, against which the priesthood had contended in the case of Uzziah, but he altered the service of the temple according to the wishes of the king.

Judah was laid waste through her length and breadth. The Damascenes and the Israelites, the Philistines and the Edomites, had got the whole land into their power as far as the metropolis. Even from this heavy blow Judah would learn nothing. Instead of turning[Pg 79] thankfully to Jehovah for rescue from such distress, the altars of the temples were altered after an Assyrian pattern. Isaiah saw this movement with the deepest indignation. "Your country is desolate; your cities are burned with fire; your land, strangers devour it in your presence. And the daughter of Zion is left as a cottage in a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers. Had not Jehovah left to us a small remnant, we had been as Sodom and Gomorrah. From the sole of the foot to the head there is no soundness in us, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been pressed out, nor bound up, nor mollified with ointment. Why should ye be stricken any more, and revolt any more? They are replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and agree with the children of strangers. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib, but Israel knows him not."[177]

Israel suffered still more than Judah by the carrying away of the population of the northern and eastern districts, the land of Nephtali, and the land of Gilead. Hoshea reigned over the remainder from the year 734 (p. 48). According to the Books of Kings he set on foot a conspiracy, slew Pekah, and became king in his place; according to the inscriptions of Tiglath Pilesar, Tiglath made him king over Israel. These statements are not contradictory. Pekah had been in league with Rezin of Damascus, the opponent of Assyria and Judah: why should not Tiglath Pilesar recognise and establish as king of Israel the man who had removed the opponent of Assyria?[178] Hoshea sent his tribute yearly to the king of Assyria.[179] But when the dreaded[Pg 80] warrior prince of Asshur—when Tiglath Pilesar died, there awoke in the Philistines, the Phenicians, and above all in Eulæus, king of Tyre, and Hoshea, king of Israel, the hope of withdrawing themselves from the yoke of Assyria. If Hoshea had risen as a partisan of Assyria, he determined now that he was in possession of the throne to break loose from that empire. The hope of liberation rested not only on the fact that Tiglath Pilesar was no more; it received a still stronger point of support in the change which had taken place in Egypt in the last years of Tiglath Pilesar. Menahem of Israel had already thought of securing the assistance of Egypt before he sent his tribute to Assyria (p. 38), and the same thought must have occurred to Uzziah in his last years. Hanno of Gaza had taken refuge in Egypt from Tiglath Pilesar (p. 48). The prudent Bocchoris had left, or been compelled to leave, Syria untouched. But since his reign Sabakon had united the forces of Dongola, Nubia, and Egypt into a strong power. When Tiglath Pilesar had extended the dominion of Assyria as far as Gaza and Elath, and a victorious aggressive power of great strength stood on the borders of Egypt, the attack of Assyria might be expected there. A far-seeing ruler of Egypt, secure of his military power, must endeavour to anticipate this attack; he must prevent it by uniting the elements of resistance existing in Syria. If the issue were favourable, the dominion of Assyria over Syria would thus be removed; in any case Egypt would have allies in Syria for the war against Assyria. "Hoshea sent messengers to Seveh (Sabakon) king of Egypt," so the Hebrews tell us, "and brought the king of Assyria no present more as formerly." It is this attempt to gain assistance, and probably the presents which accompanied it—perhaps also gifts from Hanno at Gaza, the[Pg 81] princes of Tyre, Zemar, and Hamath (see below)—which Sabakon, on the walls of Karnak, describes as tribute received from the inhabitants of Palestine (p. 73).

Isaiah foresaw very plainly what would be the issue of this undertaking which to him appeared madness and intoxication. He announced destruction and ruin to the Philistines, the kingdom of Israel, and the Phenicians. The carrying away into captivity already sent by Jehovah upon Israel, in punishment of her offences, and the war against Judah had brought about no improvement, no reformation; the severe lesson teaching them to remain at rest, which the sons of Israel had then received, is disregarded; they are calling down upon themselves a still heavier judgment. Isaiah spoke the more strongly as he was desirous to prevent Judah also, where Hezekiah, the son of Ahaz, ascended the throne in 728 B.C., from joining in this attempt. In reference to the death of Tiglath Pilesar he cries to the cities of the Philistines: "Rejoice not, whole Philistia, because the rod is broken which smote thee. For out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit is a flying serpent. From the north cometh a smoke."[180] To the cities of Tyre and Sidon, he cries: "Howl, ye ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is laid waste: there is no house more, no entering in. Be still, ye inhabitants of the coast, which the merchants of Sidon that pass over the sea replenished. By distant waters the seed of the Nile, the harvest of the river, was their revenue, and she was the mart of nations. Be thou ashamed, Sidon, for the sea hath spoken; the strength of the sea thus: I travailed not, and brought not forth; I brought up no young men and maidens. Pass ye over to Tarshish; howl, ye inhabitants of the coast! Is this your joyous city, whose[Pg 82] antiquity is of ancient days? Her own feet shall carry her afar off to sojourn. Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth? Jehovah the Lord of Hosts hath purposed it. Jehovah gave command over Canaan to destroy her fortresses, and said: Thou shalt no more rejoice, thou oppressed virgin, daughter of Sidon! Pass over to Chittim (the Cyprians, II. 53). There also thou shalt have no rest. When the report comes to Egypt, they shall be sorely pained at the report of Tyre."[181]

Isaiah directs his most severe warning to those of his own race, the kingdom of Israel. "Woe to the proud crown of the drunken Ephraim, the faded flower on the head of the fat valley of those possessed by wine," he cries. "Priests and prophets have erred through strong drink, and are overcome with wine. Jehovah will speak to this people with an alien tongue, to whom he said: Give ye rest to the weary; this is the way of salvation. But they would not listen. To whom shall he teach knowledge? whom shall he make to understand doctrine?—them that are weaned from the milk, and removed from the mother's breast? Behold, a stronger and mightier shall come from the Lord, as a tempest of hail, and a destroying storm; as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, he shall cast them with violence to the earth. He will trample it under foot, the proud crown of the drunken Ephraim; the faded flower on the head of the fat valley will disappear like early fruit before the gathering."[182]

"Shalmanesar the king of Assyria," so the Books of Kings tell us, "discovered a conspiracy in Hoshea, that he had sent messengers to Seveh (So), the king of[Pg 83] Egypt, and brought him no more a present as before. He went up against Hoshea, seized him, and put him in chains in prison, and marched over the whole land, and against Samaria, and besieged the city three years." Josephus tells us: "It was told Shalmanesar that Hoshea had secretly invited Egypt to a combined struggle. In his anger he marched out against Samaria, besieged the city for three years, and took Hoshea prisoner." "But the king of Assyria fought against the whole of Syria and Phœnicia. He marched against Tyre while Elulæus reigned there. Menander, who has drawn up the annals and translated the archives of the Tyrians into the Greek language, vouches for this when he says: Elulaeus reigned 36 years; when the Citians revolted, he sailed thither and again reduced them to subjection. The king of Assyria sent an expedition against these, overran all Phœnicia with war, made peace with them all, and returned. Sidon, and Acco, and old Tyre, and many other cities revolted from the Tyrians; but as the Tyrians themselves did not submit, the king turned again upon them, and the Phenicians manned 60 ships for him, and placed upon them 8000 rowers.[183] Against these the Tyrians set sail with 12 ships; destroyed the vessels of the enemy, and made about 500 prisoners. But the king of Assyria placed guards on the river, and on the conduits, to prevent the Tyrians from drawing water, and returned home. The Tyrians endured this for five years, during which they drank water from wells that they had dug. This is what is stated in the records of the Tyrians about Shalmanesar, the king of the Assyrians."[184]

According to these indications and statements we[Pg 84] may assume the course of affairs to have been something of the following kind. The cities of the Phenicians, and of the Philistines, and the kingdom of Israel hope for the assistance of the king of Meroe and Egypt, of Sabakon, whom the Hebrews call Seveh, and the inscriptions of the Assyrians, Sabhi. Shalmanesar overruns Syria, before the assistance from Egypt has arrived there (726 B.C.).[185] Hoshea is either taken by surprise and overcome, or in his terror attempts to appease the king of Asshur by submission. He is carried away to prison, and Shalmanesar turns towards the coast. The cities of the Phenicians submit; only the island city of Tyre resists (II. 265). The cities, which had submitted, were now compelled to furnish ships to Shalmanesar for the conquest of Cyprus, and the blockade of the island city, which was carried on from the mainland also, since old Tyre was garrisoned there, and the inhabitants of the island city were prevented from drawing water on the coast. It is remarkable that the Tyrians are said to have met the 60 ships of the blockade with 12 ships only. Yet this is no doubt no more than a mere sally of the besieged. The ships of the inhabitants of the mainland may not have taken a vigorous part in the fighting; and the blockade may not have been carried on very strictly. Tyre may very well have been able to endure a somewhat lax investment for five years. The resistance of the Tyrians appears to have inspired courage in the Israelites and the metropolis of Israel, so that they defied the arms of the Assyrians even after the carrying away of Hoshea. In the year 724 B.C. Shalmanesar turned from the coast, against Samaria. The Israelites defended their city most stubbornly.[Pg 85] Damascus had resisted Tiglath Pilesar two years; Samaria, like Arpad, held out for three years. "The king of Assyria took Samaria," so we are briefly told in the Books of Kings, "and carried Israel to Assyria, and gave them dwellings in Chalah and Chabor, by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes."

The monuments of Assyria inform us that Shalmanesar IV. did not live to see the fall of Samaria. He died in the course of the last year of the siege (722 B.C.). Sargon, his successor, boasts of this achievement of his arms. "In the beginning of my reign," so we are told in the annals of Sargon, "I besieged the city of Samaria (Samarina), and took it with the help of the god Samas, who gives me victory over my enemies. I took 27,280 prisoners. I took 50 chariots as my royal portion. I brought them to Assyria, and in their place I put people whom my hand had reduced. I placed my officers and viceroys over them, and imposed tribute upon them as on the Assyrians."[186] This statement is repeated in the inscription which gives the more important acts of Sargon (the so called fasti), with this difference at the close: "My officers I placed over them; I imposed on them the tribute of the previous kings."[187] The inscription of the bulls says quite briefly: "He (Sargon) overthrew Samaria, and all the house of Omri."[188] The inscription on the cylinder says: "I have subjugated the great land of Bit Omri."[189] The annals recapitulate: "I have laid waste the region of Samaria, and the land of Bit Omri." After informing us that the king of Israel was carried away to the East, the Books of Kings tell us, like the[Pg 86] annals of Sargon, that other inhabitants were settled in Israel: "He caused people to come from Babel and from Kutha, from Sepharvaim, Ava, and Hamath," and placed them in the cities of Samaria in the room of the children of Israel.[190] Sargon's own account confirms this statement; his inscriptions show us further to what stock these settlers belonged. In the year 721 B.C., very soon after the capture of Samaria, he transplanted people from Babylonia to the land of the Chatti, i. e. to Syria.[191] We are also told that people were removed from the four districts of Armenia to Syria, to the coast;[192] and finally, that people of Arabian descent, "of Thammud, Marsiman, Chayapa, and the land of Bari," were settled in the city of Samaria. The strengthening of the alien element in Samaria was caused by the fact that the Israelites, in spite of the severe punishment which they had undergone, had nevertheless attempted to rebel once more against Assyria.[193]

The carrying away of the inhabitants of Naphtali and Gilead, which Tiglath Pilesar had executed, the removal into a new environment, which Sargon now carried out twelve years after the former deportation, were blows from which the ten tribes could not again recover. Not that the existence of the people was annihilated; many, no doubt, perished in the conquest of the land and metropolis, yet it was by no means the whole remnant that was carried away. It was only a part of the population on whom that severe lot descended. Isaiah tells us Jehovah punished the people by measure, and allowed a remnant to remain.[194] The number of those who remained was sufficient to[Pg 87] gain the preponderance in a population so strongly mixed with foreign settlers.[195] Yet this admixture sapped the national vigour at the core. In the inscriptions of the Assyrians we hear no more of the land of Omri, but only of Samaria; from them we see that kings remained at the head of the land; they mention a second Menahem and an Abibaal as kings of Samaria. The community over which the descendants of David ruled was, in the first place, only anxious for the preservation of the national life and faith. Judah remained obedient to Assyria. Hezekiah of Judah looked on at the long siege of Samaria, the death-struggle of Israel, and the carrying away of his kindred without moving. He must have paid his tribute regularly. An inscription of Sargon, belonging to the first years of his reign, enumerates the "distant Judah" among the subject lands.[196]

The subjugation of the Phenicians, the punishment of Israel for her defection, did not break the hopes which the Syrians reposed in Egypt. Two years after the fall of Samaria, Egypt may have been better prepared for war, for a march into Syria, than at the time of Shalmanesar's campaign against Hoshea and the Phenicians. Egypt's power appeared nearer at hand; Sargon had to advance from the Tigris. Hamath rebelled against Assyria. "Ilubid possessed himself of the crown of Hamath," so we are told in the inscriptions of Sargon; "he took the city of Karkar, and roused the cities of Arpad, Damascus, Zemar (Simyra), and Samaria against me. I besieged him and his warriors in the city of Karkar."[197] The city of[Pg 88] Karkar, near which, 130 years before, Benhadad of Damascus and Ahab of Israel had fought against Shalmanesar II., was taken; Ilubid was captured, and Sargon caused him to be flayed—a relief in the palace of Sargon exhibits the execution of this sentence.[198] The memorial stone of Larnaka says: "Ilubid of Hamath rebelled; I fought against him, and covered the land of Hamath with ruins." Sixty-three thousand people were transplanted from Assyria into the land of Hamath.[199]

But Sargon succeeded in becoming master of a mightier opponent, in maintaining Syria against Egypt. Sabakon had marched through the desert with the forces of Ethiopia and Egypt; Hanno of Gaza, who once retired to Egypt before Tiglath Pilesar, joined him with his warriors. Sargon went to meet them. The armies met at Raphia (now Refah, between El Arish and Gaza, where at a later period Ptolemy Philopator of Egypt overcame Antiochus the Great). "Sabhi trusted in his forces," so the annals of Sargon tell us, "and came to meet me to offer me battle. I called upon the great god Asshur, my lord; I smote them. Sabhi fled with a shepherd, who kept the sheep, and escaped. Hanno I took prisoner. All that he possessed I carried away to Assyria. I laid waste and destroyed his cities, and burned them with fire. I carried away 9033 men with their possessions."[200] The introduction to the annals and the inscription on the bulls say briefly: "The armies of the land of Muzur (Egypt) he (Sargon) defeated near the city of Raphia (Rapih).[Pg 89] Hanno, the king of Gaza, he brought into slavery."[201] The inscription of the cylinder says: "Near the city of Raphia I defeated the king of Muzur; the king of the land of Gaza I took prisoner and carried to Assyria." The Fasti of Sargon inform us: "Hanno, king of Gaza, marched with Sabhi, the sultan of Egypt (siltannu mussuri), to meet me near the city of Raphia, to offer me battle and conflict. I put them to flight. Sabhi was seized with fear of the might of my arms; he fled, and not a trace of him was seen. Hanno, the king of Gaza, I took captive with my own hand."[202]

Sargon's contests in Syria did not end with the battle at Raphia (720 B.C.). After the inscription on the bulls has narrated the victory over the army of Egypt, it continues immediately: "I fought against the tribes of the Thammud, Ibadid, Marsiman, and Chayapa, who had invaded the land of Bit Omri, i. e. Israel."[203] On the other hand, the annals tell us, under Sargon's seventh year (716 B.C.): "I marched against the tribes of Tasid, Ibadid, Marsiman, and Chayapa; against the distant dwellers in the land of Bari, which the scholars and the wise knew not. None of the kings my forefathers had heard this name. I compelled them to obey Asshur, and those who remained I drove out of their dwellings, and placed them in the city of Samaria." On this campaign Sargon must have advanced into the peninsula of Sinai, and far into Arabia, for the annals continue: "Pharaoh (Pirhu), the king of Egypt (Muzur), Samsieh the queen of the Arabs, Iathamir the Sabæan, are kings from the distant coast of the sea and from the land (chasm). As their tribute I received herbs of the East of various[Pg 90] kinds, metals, horses, and camels."[204] The Fasti, which compress events, have the following words after the account of the battle of Raphia: "I received the tribute of Pharaoh the king of Egypt, of Samsieh the queen of the Arabs, of Iathamir the Sabæan; gold, herbs, horses, camels."[205] We remember that Samsieh, like the Sabæans, had already paid tribute to Tiglath Pilesar.

The stubborn obstinacy of the Syrians was not broken even by the desolation of Hamath and the battle at Raphia. Building on the assistance of Shabataka of Meroe and Egypt, the son and successor of Sabakon, Ashdod, the city of the Philistines, revolted in the eleventh year of Sargon, i. e. in the year 711 B.C. The hope in Egypt was shared by their neighbours in Judah, Edom, and Moab. But Ashdod was soon invested by the Assyrians and taken, and the invasion of Egypt by the Assyrians was expected in Judah. In Isaiah we are told: "In the year in which Tartan, i. e. the Assyrian general-in-chief, came unto Ashdod, when Sargon sent him, and besieged Ashdod and took it, at that time spoke Jehovah: Go and loose the sackcloth from thy loins, and put off the shoes from thy feet; and Isaiah did so, and walked naked and barefoot. Then spake Jehovah: As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and Ethiopia (Cush), so shall the king of Assyria lead the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their nakedness uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. Then shall they be ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory. And the inhabitants of these coasts said on the same[Pg 91] day: Behold, such is our expectation, whither we fled for help, to be delivered from the king of Assyria: how shall we escape?"[206]

Sargon's annals tell us: "Azuri, the king of Ashdod, lifted up his spirit to disobedience, so as to pay his tribute no longer. He sent messages hostile to Assyria to his neighbours. I bethought me of vengeance, and put another ruler over his land. I raised his brother Achimit to the throne, but the people of the Chatti inclined to rebellion, and were weary of the reign of Achimit, and raised to the throne Yaman, who had no right to it. In the anger of my heart I marched with my warriors against Ashdod. I besieged, I took Ashdod and Gimt-Asdodim; with the gods which inhabit these cities I took the gold, the silver, and all that was in his palace. Then I restored these cities; I placed people whom I had subjugated in them. I put my viceroy over them, treated them as Assyrians, and they were obedient."[207] The much injured inscription of a cylinder informs us that "Sargon, in the ninth year of his reign (713 B.C.), when he had come to the shore of the great sea, and Philistæa, displaced Azuri of Ashdod, because he had hardened his heart to pay tribute no longer, and had sent to the kings, the enemies of Assyria. Before the face of Azuri I exalted his brother Achimit, and laid taxes and tribute on him as on the kings round about him. But the people would not pay taxes and tribute, rebelled against him, and drove him out for the good that he had done them. Yaman, who had no right to the throne, they made their lord, and armed and fortified their cities for war." "The nations of[Pg 92] Philistæa, Judah, Edom, and Moab, though they brought their tribute and presents to the god Asshur, spoke treachery like their evil kings; in order to fight against me, they sent gifts to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, a prince who could not save them, and besought his alliance." "I preserved the honour of Asshur; I crossed the Tigris and Euphrates in the height of the flood." "When Yaman heard of my campaign against the land of the Chatti, the fear of Asshur, my lord, overcame him. He fled to the borders of Egypt, to the border-land of Meroe (Miluhhi); to a distant place he fled, and his hiding-place was not discovered."[208] The introduction to the annals of Sargon tells us: "Yaman had misjudged my power; he fled to the borders of the land of Meroe."[209] In the Fasti of Sargon we learn: "Yaman heard of the approach of my army; he fled to a region of Egypt which lies on the border of Meroe: not a trace of him was seen. I besieged, I took Ashdod and Gimt-Asdodim: his gods, his consort, his sons, his treasures, possessions, the costly things of his palace, and all the inhabitants of his land I destined to captivity." The annals tell us at the very beginning: "Yaman of Ashdod, who despised my power, fled into the lands of the South, to the borders of Meroe. The king of Meroe was overcome by the fear of Asshur; he bound his (Yaman's) hands and feet with iron chains, and sent his messengers before my face to Assyria."[210] The Fasti say: "The king of Meroe, in a desolate region, whose fathers had not sent ambassadors to my royal forefathers to entreat for peace—the power of Merodach, a mighty terror, overcame him; fear seized him. He put him (Yaman) in iron chains; he guided his steps to Assyria, and he[Pg 93] appeared before me."[211] From these statements it follows, that the army of Egypt, in which Yaman of Ashdod hoped, on whose forces the rest of the cities of the Philistines, Judah, Edom, and Moab reckoned in order to rebel against Assyria, as Isaiah and Sargon told us, never came. It was no doubt again the unexpected celerity with which the Assyrian army appeared before Ashdod in the year 711 B.C. (Sargon has told us already that he crossed the Tigris and Euphrates at the time of the flood), which destroyed all these plans. But the invasion of Egypt and Napata by the Assyrians, which Isaiah expected and announced, did not take place; according to Sargon's statement, Shabataka preferred to avert the attack of the Assyrians by surrendering Yaman.

At the commencement of his annals Sargon tells us, that he imposed tribute on the kings of the land of Yatnan, who dwelt at a distance of seven days' voyage in the sea of the setting sun.[212] The Fasti narrate: "The seven kings of Yatnan, whose names none of the kings, my fathers, nor any one in Assyria and Babylonia, had heard of, received intelligence of my victories in the land of the Chaldæans and the Chatti. My glory spread to the midst of the sea. They bowed their pride; they humbled themselves; they appeared at Babylon before me, and brought gold, silver, vessels, the products of their land." Yatnan is the island of Cyprus; the seven days' journey is the distance from Tyre to Citium, about 150 miles. The payment of the tribute of the seven kings of Cyprus took place in 709 B.C. Hence we may assume that after the punishment of Ashdod and the surrender of Yaman, Sargon's dominion was established in Syria, and that Tyre[Pg 94] submitted like the other cities of the Phenicians. Hence the princes of Cyprus might consider it advisable to pay homage to the king, unless perhaps they sought in him a point of support against Tyre. As a symbol of his dominion over Cyprus, Sargon caused his image to be engraved on a memorial stone in the usual manner, and set it up at Citium in the midst of the island; it is now in the Berlin Museum. The inscription gives the extent of the dominion of Sargon; relates the most important events of his reign; mentions the temples he has built, the offering of the tribute of the seven princes of the land of Yatnan at Babylon—then the erection of the image—and threatens with curses and annihilation those who alter the tablet and change Sargon's name or anything else written on the tablet: if any one attempts such a thing, Nebo and the gods who dwell in the middle of the wide sea will destroy him and his race.[213]


[175] 2 Kings xvi. 10-18.

[176] No one can seriously maintain that Ahaz imitated the ritual of the chief enemy of Assyria and Judah, the altar and worship of Rezin, who was moreover now overthrown.

[177] Isa. i. 3, 5-9; ii. 6.

[178] The Books of Kings are only wrong in representing Hoshea as first subject, and paying tribute, to Shalmanesar IV. (xvii. 3).

[179] 2 Kings xvii. 4.

[180] Isa. xiv. 29-31.

[181] Isa. xxiii. 1-12.

[182] Isa. xxviii. 1-6.

[183] So must we read for 800; 60 penteconters required 3000; 60 triremes at least 8000 rowers.

[184] "Antiq." 9, 14, 2.

[185] As Samaria was besieged 724-722 B.C., we may place the beginning of the Assyrian war in 726.

[186] Oppert, "Dour Sarkayan," p. 8, 30; "Records of the Past," 7, 28; E. Schrader, "K. A. T." s. 160; Ménant, "Annal." p. 161.

[187] E. Schrader, loc. cit. s. 158; Ménant, "Annal." p. 181.

[188] L. 26, in Ménant, loc. cit. p. 192.

[189] L. 17, in Ménant, p. 200.

[190] 2 Kings xvii. 6, 24.

[191] "The Annals of Sargon," Oppert, "Records of the Past," 7, 29.

[192] Oppert, loc. cit. 7, 30.

[193] G. Smith, "Assyr. Canon," p. 125, 126.

[194] Isa. xi. 6-8; 2 Chron. xxx. 6, 10; xxxiv. 9.

[195] 2 Kings xvii. 26 ff.

[196] Inscription of Nimrud, in Ménant, loc. cit. p. 205; in E. Schrader, loc. cit. p. 90.

[197] "Annals of Sargon," Oppert, "Records of the Past," 7, 29; G. Smith, loc. cit.

[198] In the great hall No. 8, in Botta. Ménant, p. 182.

[199] Memorial-stone of Larnaka, in Ménant, p. 207; G. Smith, "Assyr. Canon," p. 127.

[200] Oppert, "Records of the Past," 7, 29; E. Schrader, "K. A. T." 258; Ménant, loc. cit. p. 161.

[201] Ménant, loc. cit. p. 159, 192.

[202] E. Schrader, loc. cit. s. 258.

[203] Oppert, "Records of the Past," 7, 34.

[204] Communication from E. Schrader.

[205] E. Schrader, "K. A. T." s. 258; Ménant, loc. cit. p. 181.

[206] Isa. xx. 1 ff.

[207] Oppert, loc. cit. 7, 40; Ménant, p. 169; cf. l. 12 of the inscription on the bulls in Ménant, p. 162.

[208] G. Smith's Cylinder, "Disc." p. 289 ff.

[209] Ménant, p. 159.

[210] Oppert, "Records of the Past," 7, 26.

[211] E. Schrader, "K. A. T." s. 257 ff.; cf. Ménant, loc. cit. p. 186.

[212] Ménant, loc. cit. p. 159.

[213] Ménant, p. 189, 206-208. That the stone cannot have been set up in Babylon before the payment of tribute in 709B.C., is proved by the mention of the tribute upon it. Cp. G. Smith, "Z. Ægypt. Sprache," 1869, s. 109; 1870, s. 70, 71.



[Pg 95]



In his inscriptions Sargon speaks of the kings who ruled over Asshur before him, but he mentions neither his father nor his grandfather, though these are regularly mentioned by all the other kings of Assyria who ascended the throne in direct succession. It follows that he was neither the son nor the grandson of Shalmanesar IV.; nevertheless he was one of the mightiest, most victorious, and powerful of the rulers of Assyria. Nor did the uninterrupted series of his campaigns prevent him from undertaking and carrying out great buildings. To the two ancient chief cities of Assyria—Asshur and Nineveh—Shalmanesar I. had added Chalah, which was subsequently adorned by Assurnasirpal, Shalmanesar II. and Tiglath Pilesar II. with temples and palaces. Sargon built a new residence in the neighbourhood of Nineveh. On the course of the Khosr, which flows through ancient Nineveh into the Tigris, ten miles up the stream, he built a new royal abode, which he called after his name Dur Sarrukin, i. e. fortress of Sargon. The new city (Khorsabad) formed, as the remains of the outer walls show, a rectangle, each of the shorter sides of which measures more than 5000, and each of the longer sides 5500 feet.[214][Pg 96] In the north-west front of the outer wall the palace, surrounded by a separate wall, rose above the rectangle of the new city. The outer walls of the city were 45 feet in thickness; they were built up in brick, on a basis of stone; the outer wall of the palace, which flanked as a fortress the north-western side of the city wall, was entirely cased with stone.[215] The entrance to the main structure of the royal fortress was guarded by two human-headed bulls. The halls were adorned with reliefs, which exhibit the exploits of the king. Here was to be seen the execution of Ilubid, king of Hamath (p. 88); the besieging and storming of cities. Over the reliefs, beginning from the entrance in the form of a broad frieze, an inscription runs toward the left round the hall, which explains the pictures on the reliefs and ends on the opposite side of the entrance. In some halls this frieze forms a connected narrative, which relates the acts of the king in succession according to the years of the reign (the so-called Annals). In the great gallery and the chambers abutting on it the inscriptions are shorter: here they are content with bringing into prominence the most important acts of the king (the so-called Fasti). The two bulls at the entrance of the palace are also covered with inscriptions. In the foundations of the palace was found a stone chest, in which lay seven plates of gold, silver, tin, copper, lead, alabaster, and marble, on which are inscriptions as well as on the clay cylinders found in the ruins. On the bricks of the palace we read: "Palace of Sarrukin the viceroy of Bel, Patis of Asshur (II. 31), the mighty king, king of the nations, king of Asshur." And on the gold plate:[Pg 97] "Palace of Sarrukin, viceroy of Bel, Patis of Asshur, the mighty king, king of the nations, king of Asshur, who rules from the rising to the setting sun, over the four regions of the world, and places viceroys over them. According to my pleasure I have built a city in the neighbourhood of the mountains, and given to it the name of Fortress of Sarrukin. For Salman, Sin, Samas, Bin, and Adar, I have built dwellings for their great divinities in the midst of the city. The glory of my name I have inscribed on tablets of gold, silver, copper, lead, tin, alabaster, and marble, and placed them in the foundations of the palace. Whoso injures the works of my hand, and robs my treasure, may Asshur, the great lord, destroy his name and seed."[216] The Annals mention this palace in the year 712 B.C.; at the close they speak of the completion of it in the year 706 B.C. "With the heads of the provinces, the viceroys, the wise men, I settled down in my palace, and exercised justice."[217] In the inscriptions on the bulls, as well as on a cylinder, the king says, that he has named the gates to the East after Samas and Bin; those to the West after Anu and Istar; and those to the South after Bel and Bilit; those to the North after Salman and the lady of the gods.[218]

Sargon's predecessor, Shalmanesar IV., as we were able to assume, placed Elulæus over Babylon as a vassal king. The astronomical canon observes that the reign of Elulæus came to an end in 722 B.C., the same year in which Shalmanesar IV. died, and Merodach Baladan (Mardokempados) ascended the throne of Babylon in the year 721 B.C. We may suppose that[Pg 98] this Merodach Baladan was no other than the prince of Bit Yakin, i. e. of South Chaldæa, who had submitted ten years before to Tiglath Pilesar at Sapiya (731 B.C.). He must have availed himself of the decease of Shalmanesar, and the occupation of the Assyrian army in Syria, which was detained before Samaria, to make himself master of Babylon from the South, and unite the whole region of Babylonia under his rule. As soon as Samaria fell, Sargon turned against him. In the Annals, the account of the capture of Samaria is followed, in the very first year of Sargon (722-721 B.C.), by a campaign against Humbanigas, the king of Elam, who, as the Fasti say, was defeated "in the plains of Kalu."[219] The Annals then continue: "Merodach Baladan, who had made himself lord of the kingdom of Babylon against the will of the gods." The destruction of the remainder of the narrative has left only a few words legible, from which we may gather that Sargon fought against Merodach Baladan, that he removed people from Babylonia to the land of the Chatti, i. e. to Syria: according to the Books of Kings these were inhabitants of Sepharvaim and Kutha (p. 86). Whatever losses Merodach Baladan suffered, in this way he retained Babylon and the throne. The astronomical canon represents him as reigning from 721 B.C. to 710 B.C. Clay tablets in the shape of lentils, found in the ruins of Sargon's palace at Khorsabad (they were brought there, no doubt, as booty from Babylonia), bear the date of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh years of Marduk-habaliddin, king of Babylon (sar Babilu[220]); even Sargon's Annals represent Merodach Baladan as ruling over Sumir and Accad for twelve years (i. e. from 721 to 709 B.C.).[Pg 99]

After the war against Humbanigas and Merodach Baladan, against Elam and Babylonia, Sargon, as we saw, marched to Syria in order to subjugate Hamath and Gaza, and to defeat at Raphia (720 B.C.) the army of the Egyptians and Ethiopians led by Sabakon. In the next years Sargon fought in the north against the people of Van, who had shaken off the dominion of Iranzu, an adherent of Assyria, and against Urza of Ararat; the inhabitants of the four cantons in Armenia he removed to the land of Chatti, and the land of Acharri, i. e. to Syria and the Syrian coast.[221] After this, in the year 717 B.C., Pisiris of Karchemish, who had paid tribute to Tiglath Pilesar, was reduced. Karchemish was taken, Pisiris put in chains, the rebels carried to Assyria, and Assyrians placed in Karchemish. From the booty of Karchemish 11 talents of gold, 2100 talents and 24 minæ of silver were brought into the treasury at Chalah.[222] Urza of Ararat and prince Bagadatti of Mount Mildis (perhaps the region of Melitene, Malatia) excited the people of Van to rebellion, as Sargon says; Aza, the prince of Van, was slain. Sargon terrified the rebels into submission, caused Bagadatti to be flayed at the same place where Aza was slain, and placed Ullusun, the brother of Aza, on the throne of Van. But Ullusun united with Urza of Ararat and the princes of Karalla and Allabur. When Sargon advanced, Ullusun submitted; Sargon allowed him to remain on the throne on condition that he paid heavier tribute; the prince of Karalla was driven out, the people of Allabur carried to Hamath (715 B.C.[223]); in Ararat, Urza maintained his position. Vassurmi, the king of the[Pg 100] Tabal, the Tibarenes, had been dethroned by Tiglath Pilesar, and Chulli put in his place (p. 11). Sargon allowed Ambris to succeed his father in the government of the Tabal, gave him his own daughter to wife, and intrusted him with the government of the Cilicians in addition to the Tabal. Ambris abused this confidence. He united with Mita, the king of the Moschi, with Urzana of Mussasir (which must, no doubt, be sought on Lake Van), and Urza of Ararat against Assyria. Ambris was defeated and taken prisoner, and carried to Assyria with his chief adherents. Mita submitted, like the Cilicians: Mussasir, the city of Urzana, was taken by storm: Urza of Ararat, whose resistance had been the longest and most stubborn, wandered about as a fugitive, and took his own life (714 B.C.).[224]

The armies of Shalmanesar II. were the first to make an advance on the table-land of Iran. As already remarked, they trod the plains of Media in 835 B.C. Ninety years later, Tiglath Pilesar II. subjugated the land of Nisaa (the region of Nisæa in Media) and then the cities of Media, on his first, second, and ninth campaigns; he imposed tribute on the princes of the land of Media. Sargon tells us that in his sixth year (716 B.C.) he fought against the land of Karkhar, which we must seek in the Zagrus (perhaps it is a part of the valley of the Kerkha); that he named a city there Kar Sargon. He received considerable tribute from 25 princes of the Medes, and set up his image in the midst of their places.[225] In the next year, when Urza of Ararat conspired with Ullusun of Van, and Ullusun with Dayaukka, the overseer of Van (?), "I took 22 fortresses," so the Annals say, "and carried away Dayaukka and his tribute with me, and restored peace[Pg 101] to the land of Van" (715 B.C.).[226] The Fasti also mention the capture of the 22 places; after this they give the capture of Bagadatti, and continue: "I caused him to be flayed, and carried Dayaukka with his adherents away into the land of Amat, and made them dwell there."[227] "In order to maintain myself in Media, I built fortresses in the neighbourhood of Kar Sargon," so the Annals relate in the same year,[228] "and received the tribute of 22 princes of the Medes." To the erection of fortresses in the neighbourhood of Kar Sargon the Fasti add: "I conquered 34 cities in Media, united them with Assyria, and imposed on them a tribute of horses."[229] In the year 713 B.C., according to the statement in the Annals, Sargon marched against Bit Dayauku, and against the nation of Karalla, who had driven out Sargon's viceroy. "The lands of Bit Ili, the district of Media, which belongs to Ellip—and the chief districts of Media, which had thrown off Asshur's yoke, and put mountains and vallies in terror—I pacified. I received the tribute of 45 princes of the Medes; 4609 horses, sheep, and asses in great numbers."[230] The much-injured inscription of an octagonal cylinder enumerates the princes of Media who paid this tribute in this year: among them we find Pharnes, Barzan, Aspabara, Satarparnu, Ariya, and finally Arbaku of Arnasia.[231] Sargon's inscriptions repeatedly boast that he subjugated "the distant land of Media; all places of the distant Media as far as the borders of the land of Bikni;" that "his power extended as far as the city of Simaspati, which belonged to the distant Media in the East."[232][Pg 102]

When Syria had been reduced, Egypt repelled, the North brought into obedience, and Media made tributary, Sargon undertook to restore the supremacy of Assyria over Babylonia. Merodach Baladan's rule must be removed. The dominion of Assyria must be again restored as it was in the time of Tiglath Pilesar. "For twelve years," so the Fasti of Sargon tell us, "Merodach Baladan had roused up the land of Sumir and Accad. I resolved to march against the inhabitants of the land of Kaldi (Chaldæa). Merodach Baladan heard of the approach of my army; he left Babylon, betook himself to Dur Yakin, strengthened the walls there, and called upon the tribes of Gambul, Pekod, Tumun, Ruhua, and Chindar. My warriors defeated the enemy. The migratory tribes fled after this defeat. Merodach Baladan left his tent, the insignia of his royal dignity, his chariot and adornments behind him, and fled away in the night. I besieged and took the city of Dur Yakin. His wife, his sons, his daughters, his palace, and all that was therein, I took. I burnt the city, and threw down the old walls. I permitted the inhabitants of Sippara, of Nipur, of Babylonia, and Borsippa to continue their occupations. To the cities of Arak (Erech) and Larsam (Senkereh) I gave back the gods which dwell there, and restored the temples."[233] The Annals give a more detailed account, but in the narrative of these events the text is interrupted by great lacunæ. In the introduction we have: "Merodach Baladan showed the greatest violence against the will of the gods of Babylon; my hand reached him; I took from him all his land." Then follows the narrative of the occurrence under the twelfth year of the king (710 B.C.): "Merodach Baladan refused to pay tribute. He had concluded an alliance with Sutruk[Pg 103] Nanchundi, the king of Elam, and aroused all the tribes of Aram (Mesopotamia) against me. He strengthened his fortresses and assembled his troops. I took captive 18,430 men." After an enumeration of the cities which Sargon took, and the narrative of the subjection of the Pekod, we are told: "The rest of the inhabitants of the land of Aram had put their hopes in Merodach Baladan and Sutruk Nanchundi, and gathered on the river Ukni. I put them to flight." After this Sargon takes several cities of Elam; Sutruk Nanchundi retires before him into the mountains. Merodach Baladan heard this in his palace at Babylon; he left the city at night with his warriors, directed his steps to the land of Elam, and sent a considerable weight of silver to Sutruk Nanchundi, to induce him to send aid. "I marched at once to Babylon, sacrificed to the gods, and set up my power in the midst of the palace of Merodach Baladan." "In the thirteenth year of my reign, Merodach Baladan compelled the cities of Ur and Larsam to pay him tribute, collected his forces at Dur Yakin, and there fortified himself. I went boldly against him, threw his warriors and horses into confusion; I cut down the people of the Pekod and Marsiman, and took the symbols of their kingdom. And Merodach Baladan acknowledged his weakness; he abandoned the sceptre and throne, and kissed the earth in the presence of my emissary. I summoned him, and received him into favour. Dur Yakin I burnt; I laid regular tribute on the upper and lower land of Bit Yakin. While I punished the Chaldæans and Aramæans, and made my power felt by the Elamites, my viceroy, in the land of Kui (Cilicia), in the regions of the setting sun, attacked Mita, the Moschian, took two fortresses and 2400 men, freemen and slaves. To complete his subjugation, Mita sent[Pg 104] his envoy with his tribute as far as the coast of the Eastern sea, and acknowledged the power of the god Asshur. The seven kings of Yatnan (Cyprus) also brought their tribute into my presence at Babylon; gold, silver, and the products of their land, and kissed my feet."[234]

These accounts show that Sargon's war against Merodach Baladan occupied two years (710 and 709 B.C.). In the first campaign the Babylonians were defeated in the field; the Aramæans dispersed; the Elamites, among whom the sovereignty had been meanwhile transferred from Humbanigas to Sutruk Nanchundi, driven back, and the cities of Babylonia taken. Merodach Baladan abandons Babylon, and retires to the lower Euphrates, to the land of his nation. Sargon ascends the throne of Babylon, and takes the title, "King of Babel, of Sumir and Accad," which Tiglath Pilesar had borne before him. The second campaign ends with the capture and destruction of Dur Yakin, with the subjugation of the whole region of the Euphrates as far as the shore of the Persian Gulf, and the receiving of Merodach Baladan into favour. According to the astronomical canon, Arkeanus ascended the throne of Babylon in the year 709 B.C. Arkeanus can only be Sargon (Sarrukin). One of the tablets, which contains contracts about the sale of parcels of land, slaves, and loans, from the time of Sargon, bears the date: "Month Sebat, year of Muttakkil-Assur, viceroy of Gozan; fifteenth year of Sargon, king of Asshur, third year of his reign in Babylon."[235] As Sargon certainly cannot have ascended the throne of Babylon later than the year 709 B.C., the year 707-706 would be the third[Pg 105] year of his reign over Babylonia; the canon of the Assyrian rulers actually puts the year of Muttakkil-Assur at the year 706 B.C.

The campaigns of the unwearied Sargon did not end with the subjugation of the whole region of Babylonia. The Annals and Fasti narrate how he overthrew Mutallu of Kummukh (Gumathene), who had united himself with Argistis, king of Ararat, who must have taken the place of Urza (p. 99), and that he planted there people from Bit Yakin (707 B.C.). The land of Ellip, which he had previously subjugated, remained faithful to him as long as king Dalta lived. After his death his sons Nibi and Ispabara contended for the throne. The former sought help from Sutruk Nanchundi of Elam; Ispabara vowed allegiance to him (Sargon). To support Ispabara, Sargon sent troops to the land of Ellip, the position of which we can only so far ascertain from the inscriptions, as to know that it bordered on Media (p. 101) as well as Elam. Nibi's warriors and the Elamites were defeated; Nibi was taken prisoner, his adherents were crucified, and Ispabara became the prince of the whole land (706 B.C.).[236]

Sargon, who defeated the Egyptians and the Ethiopians, who subjugated Syria and Babylonia, who had gone through so many battles, came to a violent end, but not in war. He was murdered. The list of the rulers announces the naked fact in the year 705B.C., and adds the accession of his son Sennacherib, on whom fell the heavy task of maintaining the wide dominion which Sargon had won. If he did not succeed in doing this without some loss, his buildings, which he began immediately after his accession, were not inferior to those of his father. He[Pg 106] must have commenced them at the beginning of his reign. The inscription on a cylinder (Bellino), bearing the date of the third year of Sennacherib, gives the dimensions of a palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh, and describes the architecture and adornment. The kings, his fathers, had built this palace, but had not completed its splendour; the waves of the Tigris had injured the foundations; he altered the course of the Tigris, strengthened the dams, built the palace afresh, and caused lions and bulls to be hewn out of great stones.[237] The remains of this structure lie on the site of the ancient Nineveh, immediately to the north of the Khosr, which flowed through the city, on the old bed of the Tigris, near the modern village of Kuyundshik. The dimensions give this palace the first place among the castles of the kings of Asshur. It rose on a terrace of more than 80 feet in height, close by the Tigris. The great porticoes were from 150 to 180 feet in length, and about 40 feet in breadth; the great gallery was 218 feet in length, and 25 feet in breadth. About 70 chambers have been discovered in this building.[238] The main front lay to the north-west; two great winged bulls with human heads guarded the entrance. At the entrance of the north-east front also were two bulls of this kind. In the great portico behind this entrance, and the gallery abutting upon it, the process of building is represented on the reliefs on the walls. We see the clay pits, the workmen carrying baskets filled with clay and bricks, the great blocks intended for the images of the lions and bulls coming up the Tigris, and brought to the elevation on shore by ropes drawn by hundreds of hands. This is done by means of slips under which[Pg 107] are placed wooden rollers. A lion, already finished, standing upright and surrounded by a wooden case, and held up by workmen with ropes and forked poles, is drawn along in this manner; the hinder end of the slip is then raised by a lever placed on wedges in order to facilitate the elevation. The overseer stands between the fore-feet of the colossus, and directs by the movement of his hands the efforts of the workmen. Sennacherib himself from his chariot watches the advance of this statue. In the same way a finished human-headed bull is drawn along by four long rows of workmen. In another chamber we see rows of servants, who carry apples and grapes, pastry and other food in baskets. The reliefs of the next porticoes and halls exhibit the warlike acts of Sennacherib; the crossing of rivers, sieges, stormings of cities in the mountain country, in the plain, in the marsh. Unfortunately the inscriptions over these have almost entirely perished along with the upper part of the walls; only a few words are legible. The inscription of the third year of Sennacherib (703 B.C.) concludes the account of this building with the words: "To him among my sons, whom Asshur in the course of the days shall summon to be lord over land and people, I say this: This palace will grow old and fall to pieces. May he set it up, restore the inscriptions and the writing of my name, and clean the images; may he offer sacrifice, and put everything in its place; so shall Asshur hear his prayer."[239] The inscriptions on slabs between the thighs of the two bulls before the north-west entrance give a detailed account of the dimensions and manner of the building of this palace.[240][Pg 108]

In the inscription on the cylinder, Sennacherib boasts that he made a canal from the Khosr through the city; that he renovated Nineveh, "the city of Istar," and made it brilliant as the sun; the prisoners, Chaldæans, Aramæans, captives from Van and Cilicia, were employed on these works.[241] The adornment of Nineveh, the strengthening of its walls, are mentioned on inscriptions on slabs in the palace itself.[242] Another cylinder (Smith) from the ninth year of the reign of Sennacherib (697 B.C.),[243] also mentions the buildings which the king undertook for the restoration of Nineveh: the prisoners of his campaigns worked at them: Philistines and Tyrians are here added to Chaldæans, Aramæans, Armenians, and Cilicians.[244] Later documents inform us that Sennacherib built temples to Nebo and Merodach at Nineveh.[245] A third cylinder (Taylor) has been preserved from the fifteenth year of the reign of Sennacherib (691 B.C.), which tells us of a second great building of his at Nineveh. By the kings, his fathers, a house had been erected for the preservation of the treasure; for the horses and troops. This building had become damaged; he caused the old house to be removed, and built up again on a larger scale.[246] The remains of this building lie to the south of the confluence of the Khosr and Tigris near the modern Nebbi Yunus. According to the evidence of the ruins it was of smaller dimensions than the palace at Kuyundshik. To the north-east of Nineveh, near the modern Bavian, the image of Sennacherib is hewn in the rocks. The inscription on this image informs us in detail what Sennacherib had done for the irrigation of the land of Assyria: among other things it is mentioned, that he[Pg 109] had made 16 (18) canals from the Khosr, or into it.[247] Bricks found at Sherif-Khan show by the stamp that Sennacherib built a temple there to Nergal; the bricks of a heap of ruins to the south-west of the ancient Arbela show that he erected there the fortifications of a city called Kakzi.[248]

The most indispensable task which devolved on Sennacherib at his accession was the keeping of Babylon in subjection. The news of the death of Sargon, the mighty warrior, might arouse among all the nations which had felt the weight of his arms so heavily the hope of again shaking off the yoke. If the Babylonians succeeded in freeing themselves from the dominion of his successor, there was the prospect that such a success would be an event of wide importance; a sign and example to the subject lands. According to the evidence of Josephus, Berosus related of Sennacherib that he fought against all Asia and Egypt:[249] Abydenus represented him as subjugating Babylonia.[250] Alexander Polyhistor, according to a fragment which Eusebius has preserved, narrated as follows: "After that the brother of Sennacherib reigned in Babylon, and after him Akises, who was slain by Merodach Baladan after 30 days; Merodach Baladan maintained himself by violence for six months, and was then slain by a man of the name of Elibus. But in the third year of the reign of Elibus, Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, collected an army against the Babylonians, conquered them in the battle, and carried away Elibus with his followers to Assyria. Sennacherib placed his son Asordanes (Esarhaddon) as ruler over Babylon; he himself returned to Assyria."[251] After the reign of[Pg 110] Arkeanus (Sargon) from 709 B.C. to 705 B.C., the astronomical canon gives an interregnum for the years 704 and 703 B.C.; after this comes the reign of Belibus, which lasted three years, from 702 B.C. to 700 B.C. Belibus was succeeded by Aparanadius, who reigned six years (699-694 B.C.). If we attempt to unite these statements with the quotation from Polyhistor, Sennacherib, immediately on his accession, made his brother king and viceroy of Babylon, but he was unable to maintain his position; a rebel, Akises, seized the throne, and was in his turn overthrown by Merodach Baladan, whose reign over Babylon only lasted six months. The two years after Sargon's death, which were occupied by this regency and these usurpations, are marked in the astronomical canon as an interregnum. As the last half year of this period was occupied with the usurpation of Merodach Baladan, and the preceding month by Akises, Sennacherib's brother must have reigned over Babylon 17 months after Sargon's death, or a little longer (the canon gives the last year of each reign entirely to the king who died in it). Towards the close of these two years the Elibus of Polyhistor, the Belibus of the canon, overthrew Merodach Baladan, and reigned till 700 B.C., in which year Sennacherib marched against Babylonia, defeated Elibus, took him prisoner, and placed his son Asordanes as king over Babylon. The Aparanadius of the canon must be the Asordanes of Polyhistor.

Sennacherib's inscriptions show that the events took place nearly but not quite in this manner. His archives say nothing of the regency of a brother in Babylon; they do not exclude such a regency, but they show clearly that Merodach Baladan was in possession of the throne of Babylon in 704 B.C. Is this Merodach Baladan the Merodach Baladan of Bit Yakin, of South[Pg 111] Chaldæa, who paid homage to Tiglath Pilesar II. at Sapiya in the year 731 B.C., and who after the death of Shalmanesar IV., in the year 721 B.C., possessed himself of the throne of Babylon—whom Sargon fought against at that time, but did not overthrow—whom he deprived of all his land in the years 710 and 709 B.C., and then received into favour? The man who possessed himself of Babylon in the year 704 B.C. belongs without a doubt to the princely house of Bit Yakin; we find him retiring before Sennacherib from Babylon to Bit Yakin, as he had previously retired before Sargon. The Merodach Baladan of Sennacherib can therefore only be the Merodach Baladan of Tiglath Pilesar, and Sargon, or a son of the same name.[252] As the inscriptions give the name simply without any addition, we have in him no doubt the same prince of Bit Yakin who submitted to Tiglath Pilesar and was defeated by Sargon. That Merodach Baladan was in possession of Babylon at least six months, as Polyhistor states, is proved by the combinations into which, according to Sennacherib's inscriptions, he entered with the king of Elam, the tribes of Mesopotamia, and tribes of the Arabians, before Sennacherib attacked him; by the fact that Sennacherib found the troops of Elam united with those of Babylon; and by the embassy of Merodach to Hezekiah, king of Judah, urging him to make common cause with him against Assyria, which is mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures. He certainly had time to make extensive preparations against Sennacherib.

Merodach Baladan must therefore have obtained the throne of Babylon not long after the accession of Sennacherib. Sennacherib's first campaign was directed against him in order to restore the authority of Assyria[Pg 112] over Babylonia. The inscription of Nebbi Yunus tells us at the very beginning: "In a great battle I conquered Merodach Baladan and the nations of Chaldæa and Aram; the army of Elam which had come to their assistance."[253] Four other narratives in greater detail have been preserved relating to this campaign; one from the third year of Sennacherib (703 B.C., the cylinder Bellino, already mentioned), the second from the ninth year of Sennacherib (697 B.C., the cylinder Smith, also already mentioned), the third dates from the fifteenth year of Sennacherib (691 B.C., the cylinder Taylor), the fourth is given in the inscription on a slab between the thighs of the bulls at the entrance to the great palace of Sennacherib at Kuyundshik. This last account, which is uninjured, does not go back beyond the fourth year of Sennacherib. The oldest account tells us: "At the beginning of my reign I inflicted a defeat on Merodach Baladan, the king of Kardunias (Babylon), together with the army of Elam, before the city of Kis. In the middle of the battle he escaped alone, and fled to the land of Guzuman, into the marshes. The chariots, horses, mules, and camels, which he left on the field of battle, fell into my hands. His palace in Babylon I entered full of joy. I opened his treasury; I carried away gold, silver, golden and silver vessels, precious stones; his wife, and the women of the palace. I sent my soldiers to pursue him to Guzuman, to the marshes. They pursued him five days, but no trace of him was seen. In the strength of Asshur, my lord, I took 89 fortified cities and fortresses in the land of Kaldi, and 820 smaller places. The Aramæans and Chaldæans, who formed garrisons in Erech, Nipur, Kis, Chalanne, and Kutha, I carried away with the rebellious[Pg 113] inhabitants; Belibus, the son of a man of wisdom, from the neighbourhood of Suanna, I made the ruler of Sumir and Accad."[254] The two accounts immediately following the first agree with it except that the number of the fortified places taken in Chaldæa is given as 75 and 76, and the number of smaller places in both is 420. Both also, like the summary account on the slabs of the bulls, pass over the setting up of Belibus as regent,[255] no doubt because this regency was no longer in existence when they were written. In Polyhistor, as we have seen, it is Elibus who overthrows Merodach Baladan; in the astronomical canon, Belibus ascends the throne of Babylon in the year 702 B.C. According to the inscriptions, Merodach Baladan's rule over Babylon was overthrown as early as 703 B.C.; according to the canon, his overthrow, or at any rate the establishment of Belibus, did not take place till 702 B.C.

After driving Merodach Baladan out of Babylonia Sennacherib subjugated the tribes of Tumun, Richih, Rahua, Pekod, Hauran, Nabatu, and Hagaranu (the Hagarites), who "had not been reduced to submission," i. e. who had taken up arms against Assyria for Merodach Baladan; 208,000 men and women, children and adults,[256] were captured and carried away to Assyria, with 7200 horses and mules, 5330 camels, 70,000 oxen, and 800,600 head of small cattle.[257] The amount of cattle taken is omitted in the second, third, and fourth accounts; the second and third give us the number of the prisoners. These prisoners (Chaldæans and[Pg 114] Aramæans), Sennacherib, as we saw above, employed in building his new palace and his buildings at Nineveh. After this Sennacherib turned against Ispabara, king of Ellip, whom Sargon had assisted to the throne against his brother (p. 105). Ispabara escaped, the land was laid waste, 34 places were taken, the chief city Ilinzas received a new name, Kar Sennacherib. "At my return," so we find it stated with complete agreement in all the four narratives, "I received the great tribute of the distant land of Media, and subjugated that land to my dominion."[258]

Merodach Baladan had been compelled to retire from Babylonia. He had maintained himself in his native land in south Chaldæa. When in Syria, Sidon and Ascalon, Ekron and Judah took up arms, and Sennacherib was compelled to march thither, Merodach Baladan could attempt to regain what he had lost. He was soon again in alliance with the king of Elam, or rather he remained in alliance with him. The Elamites reconquered two cities which Sargon had taken from them. In Babylonia a rebellion broke out, at the head of which stood a man of the name of Suzub. Belibus appears to have been unable to maintain himself against him, against South Chaldæa under Merodach Baladan, and Elam. The astronomical canon puts the end of his reign in 700 B.C. The later inscriptions of Sennacherib, as already observed, make no mention of Belibus, but they tell us of a campaign which Sennacherib on his return from the Syrian war, in which at the close, as we shall soon see, he gained no success, undertook against Suzub and South Chaldæa. "In my fourth campaign," so Sennacherib relates on the[Pg 115] cylinders Smith and Taylor, "I collected my army: I bade it go against the land of Bit Yakin. In the course of this enterprize I brought about the overthrow of Suzub the Chaldæan, who dwelt in the marshes; he retired. Merodach Baladan, whom I had thrown to the ground on my former campaign, whose war-like forces I had scattered, retired from the approach of my mighty warriors, and the blow of my violent attack; he put the gods, who rule in his land, on board ship, and fled like a bird to Nagitirakki, which lies in the midst of the sea. His brothers, the scions of the house of his father, whom he left behind on the coast, and the remainder of his nation in the lakes and marshes I brought out and took prisoners. I turned back and destroyed his cities. I struck terror into his ally, the king of Elam. At my return I put Assurnadin, my eldest son, on the throne of his dominion, and entrusted him with the whole extent of the land of Sumir and Accad." The stone slabs on the bulls of Kuyundshik also mention the establishment of Assurnadin in Babylon.[259]

From this account we gather that Babylon, if it was not lost, wavered; that the chief of the rebels in Babylonia retired before the approach of Sennacherib into the marshes. The establishment of Assurnadin as regent of Babylonia by Sennacherib did not take place till Merodach Baladan was driven out of Bit Yakin. The inscriptions do not mention Sennacherib's entrance into Babylon. Aparanadius, whose reign the astronomical canon represents as beginning with the year 699 B.C., can only be Assurnadin, the son of Sennacherib.[260][Pg 116]

The expulsion of Merodach Baladan out of South Chaldæa; the establishment of the successor to the throne of Assyria as regent of Babylon, had no more lasting results than the establishment of Belibus three years before. Suzub, who had retired into the marshes before Sennacherib, was again at the head of Babylonia. "The tribes of Bit Yakin," so Sennacherib tells us on the cylinder Taylor, "despised my rule; they settled in the city of Nagitti, in the land of Elam." Sennacherib directed his sixth campaign against them (the fifth was directed against the land of Nipur). "On my sixth campaign (696 B.C.), I attacked Elam, and carried the people of Bit Yakin with the people of Elam into captivity. At my return, Suzub, a child of Babylonia, whom the rebellious people in the land of Sumir and Accad had raised up, came to offer me battle. I conquered him; he fell into my hand; I gave him his life, and caused him to be taken into Assyria. The king of Elam, who came to his assistance, I put to flight."[261] The inscription of Nebbi Yunus gives us a fuller account. It narrates the carrying away of the people of Elam, like the cylinder, and then continues: "After this (?) the leading inhabitants of Babylonia, who were round Merodach Baladan, escaped and called on the king of Elam for help, who placed Suzub, the son of Gated, on the throne. I sent my warriors against the king of Elam; they slew many of his people; they made themselves masters of the gods who dwell in Arak (Erech), of Samas, Bilit, Istar, Nergal, and their endless treasures. Suzub, the king of Babylon, who was taken prisoner after a great battle, they brought to Nineveh into my presence."[262] We see that in spite of the regency of Assurnadin, which would not be weak, in spite of the attack of Sennacherib on Elam, the[Pg 117] adherents of Suzub, when combined with the adherents of Merodach Baladan and supported by Elam, were strong enough to remove Assurnadin not long after his appointment, and to raise Suzub to the throne. His defeat and imprisonment were heavy blows for the Babylonians, but they did not break their resistance. The city of Babylon was not attacked by Sennacherib.

The stubborn resistance of Babylonia against Sennacherib was supported, as the inscriptions clearly show, by Elam, where a new king, Kudur Nanchundi, had succeeded Sutruk Nanchundi (p. 103).[263] In order, no doubt, to isolate the Babylonians and take from them this support of their resistance, Sennacherib directed his seventh campaign against Elam: "The king of Elam," we are told in the inscription of Nebbi Yunus, "had been the ally of the people of Babel."[264] The two cities which Sargon had taken from Sutruk Nanchundi,[265] which the Elamites had subsequently reconquered, were taken by Sennacherib, who besides enumerates 34 large cities of Elam, which he had besieged, conquered, and burnt. Kudur Nanchundi abandoned his chief city, Madaktu, and escaped into a distant region. Sennacherib intended to besiege Madaktu, but snow and rain detained him in the mountains; he returned to Nineveh.[266]

Sennacherib had not attained his object, the subjugation of Elam. What Sennacherib announces as the result of his campaign must have appeared to the Babylonians as very small, if not altogether a failure. In the cylinder Taylor a new struggle against Babylon follows the return of Sennacherib to Nineveh, a struggle more[Pg 118] important and severe than any preceding. Suzub, whom Sennacherib had taken captive in 696 B.C., escaped out of imprisonment, and again appeared as king at the head of Babylonia. Merodach Baladan is no more, but his son unites with Suzub; all Chaldæa rises; and by its side the Elamites, Aramæans, and several tribes of Arabia. This great rebellion ends with the capture and destruction of Babylon. The date of these events, which took place in the eighth campaign of Sennacherib, can only be defined by the fact that they belong to the period after the year 696 B.C., and before the year 692 B.C. The cylinder which narrates them bears the date of the beginning of the year of Belsimiani, i. e. of the year 691 B.C. The events of the eighth campaign are connected, and follow immediately on each other; the close was the conquest of Babylon and second capture of Suzub, as the introductory words to this campaign on the cylinder prove: "In my eighth campaign the dominion of Suzub came to an end." After the conquest of Babel, this inscription only mentions the erection of the building at Nebbi Yunus (p. 108). We must, therefore, put the beginning of the new struggle in the year 695 B.C., the destruction of Babylon in the year 694 B.C.

The Babylonians—so our inscription continues after the return of Sennacherib from Elam—had closed the great gates of their city; Suzub, who had escaped out of captivity to Elam, and had returned from thence to Babylon, was placed on the throne of Sumir and Accad. He opened the treasure of Bit Saggatu, i. e. of the great temple of Merodach (I. 295), and sent the sacred gold and silver to the king of Elam. Kudur Nanchundi died three months after the campaign of Sennacherib against Elam; he was succeeded by his brother, Umman Minanu, who was ready to give[Pg 119] assistance. Nabu-labar-iskun, a son of Merodach Baladan, joined Suzub; the Chaldæan regions of Bit Adin, Bit Amukan, Bit Sahalla, took his side. The Parsua, the land of Ellip, finally the tribes of the Pekod, Gambul, Rahua, and Chindar, rebelled and marched to Babel to Suzub, "whom they called king of Babylon."[267] "The king of Elam, the lands of Parsua and Ellip, the whole of Chaldæa, all the tribes of Aram, were united with the king of Babylon."[268] On the banks of the Tigris, near the city of Chaluli, they offered battle to Sennacherib, 150,000 strong. Sennacherib conquered; Nabu-labar-iskun was captured; Umman Minanu and Suzub escaped. "I granted their lives to those who submitted, and acknowledged my dominion." With these words the account of the eighth campaign of Sennacherib closes on the cylinder Taylor. After the description of the battle of Chaluli the inscription of Bavian continues: "The whole land of Elam I struck with terror; the warriors fled before me to the highest mountains. A second time I turned against Babylon; I won the city; I spared not the men, the children, or the slaves. Suzub, the king of Babylon, who fell into my hands, I carried away and his kindred. The gods of the city of Hekali, Bin and Sala, which Marduk-nadin-akh, king of Accad, had taken from Tiglath Pilesar and carried to Babylon 418 years previously, I took away from Babylon; I put them up again in their place in the city of Hekali. The cities and their palaces I have destroyed from the foundation[Pg 120] to the summit; the walls, altar, temples, and towers, I have laid waste."[269]

The statements of the astronomical canon do not agree with these inscriptions. With the canon, this period, distracted by contests in which for the most part Suzub is at the head of Babylon and the city of Babel is not in the power of Sennacherib, was the reign of Aparanadius, or, as we supposed, of Assurnadin, which in the canon lasts from 699 to 694 B.C. The year 693 is given to Regebelus, who is succeeded by Mesesimordakus from the year 692 to 688 B.C. After this the canon places an interregnum of eight years (688-680 B.C.). If we are to attempt to harmonise the two, Regebelus and Mesesimordakus may be regarded as viceroys, to whom, after the capture of Babylonia, Sennacherib entrusted the rule of the country in those years. The interregnum which follows would then be explained by the fact that Sennacherib reigned over Babylonia without a viceroy from the year 688 B.C. But in none of the inscriptions preserved does Sennacherib name himself in his title, king of Sumir and Accad, or king of Babel. The astronomical canon gave us the name of Sargon at the time when he ruled directly over Babylon; why is not Sennacherib's name mentioned in a similar position? It is not impossible that new rebellions followed the capture of Babylon, in which Regebelus and Mesesimordakus were leaders; but it is certain that Babylonia, if not South Chaldæa, was under the dominion of Assyria at the death of Sennacherib.


[214] Flandin gives the long and short sides of the rectangle doubled at 6784 metres; the inscription which reckons in the whole circuit the building of the palace which juts out from the rest, at 16,280 cubits (ammat). The Babylonian and Assyrian cubits are both = 525 millimetres; Lepsius, "Abh. Berl. Akad." 1853; "Monats-Berichte Ders." 1877. Vol. I. p. 305.

[215] Rawlinson, "Monarch," 12, 324 ff.

[216] Oppert, "Dour Sarkayan," p. 23, 24.

[217] Oppert, "Records of the Past," 7, 55, 56.

[218] Oppert, "Dour Sarkayan," p. 8.

[219] In Ménant, loc. cit. p. 181.

[220] Oppert, "Dour Sarkayan," p. 27, 28; Oppert et Ménant, "Doc. juridiques," p. 168.

[221] Ménant, "Annal." 162. In Oppert, "Records of the Past," 7, 30, the fourth canton is called Pappa. Above, p. 86.

[222] Inscription of Nimrud in Ménant, loc. cit. p. 206. He reads two talents 30 minæ of gold; G. Smith reads 11 talents of gold.

[223] Oppert, "Records of the Past," 7, 32.

[224] Oppert, "Records of the Past," 7, 35, 36, 37. Vol I., p. 520.

[225] Annals in Ménant, loc. cit. p. 164.

[226] Annals in Ménant, p. 164; Oppert, loc. cit. 7, 33.

[227] Ménant p. 183.

[228] Oppert, loc cit. 7, 34.

[229] Ménant, p. 184.

[230] Ménant p. 167; Oppert, loc. cit. 7, 37.

[231] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 289.

[232] Oppert, loc. cit. 7, 27; Ménant, loc. cit. p. 192, 195, 200, 201, 205, 207.

[233] In Ménant, loc. cit. p. 188.

[234] Above, p. 93; Oppert, "Records of the Past," 7, 46-51.

[235] Ménant, "Babylone," p. 157.

[236] The Annals in Oppert, loc. cit. 7, 51-53. The Fasti in Ménant, "Annal." p. 186, 187.

[237] Cylinder Bellino in Ménant, "Annal." p. 229.

[238] G. Rawlinson, "Monarch," 22. 179, n. 5.

[239] Ménant, loc. cit. 229, 230.

[240] Ménant, loc. cit. p. 212.

[241] Ménant, loc. cit. p. 228, 229.

[242] Ménant, loc. cit. p. 211.

[243] Year of Nabudurussur.

[244] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 308.

[245] G. Smith, "Assurbanipal," p. 318.

[246] Ménant, loc. cit. p. 224.

[247] Rodwell, "Records of the Past," 9, 23; Ménant, loc. cit. p. 235.

[248] In Ménant, loc. cit. p. 237.

[249] Joseph. "Antiq." 10, 1, 4.

[250] In Euseb. "Chron." 1, p. 35, ed. Schöne.

[251] Euseb. "Chron." 1, p. 27, ed. Schöne.

[252] Cf. E. Schrader, "K. A. T." s. 213 ff.

[253] In Ménant, "Annal." p. 231.

[254] E. Schrader, "K. A. T." s. 219 ff.

[255] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 298; Cylinder Taylor in Ménant, "Annal." p. 215.

[256] G. Smith's Cylinder, "Disc." p. 298; Ménant reads 2800 prisoners on the Cylinder Taylor.

[257] Cylinder Bellino.

[258] Cylinder Bellino, in Ménant, p. 228; Cylinder G. Smith, "Disc." p. 302; Cylinder Taylor in Ménant, p. 227; "Records of the Past," 7, 61.

[259] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 308; Ménant, "Annal." p. 219, "Records of the Past," 7, 63.

[260] The fourth campaign of Sennacherib, the establishment of Assurnadin cannot be later than the year 698 B.C., since the Cylinder Smith, which dates from the year 697 B.C., concludes with these events, and then speaks only of the buildings; G. Smith, "Disc." p. 308.

[261] In Ménant, loc. cit. p. 220, 221.

[262] In Ménant, p. 232.

[263] An inscription of this king found at Susa is explained by Oppert, "Records of the Past," 7, 82.

[264] In Ménant, loc. cit. p. 232.

[265] Above, p. 114; Annals of Sargon, in Oppert, "Records of the Past," 7, 45.

[266] Cylinder Taylor in Ménant, p. 222.

[267] Cylinder Taylor in Ménant, p. 232, 233; Talbot, "Records of the Past," 1, 78.

[268] Inscription of Nebbi Yunus in Ménant, loc. cit. p. 232. An inscription of Exarhaddon repeats the events of this war: Suzub, "of unknown race, a lower chieftain," came to Babylon, and was raised to be king; Umman Minanu was gained by the treasures of Bit Saggatu; the Parsua joined, etc.; G. Smith, "Disc." p. 315.

[269] Rodwell, "Records of the Past," 9, 27, 28; Ménant, "Babylone," p. 166. Vol. II. p. 40.



[Pg 121]



When Babylonia rebelled against Sennacherib, immediately after the murder of Sargon; when Merodach Baladan, whom Sargon had deprived of the rule over Babylon, and had finally suffered to remain in South Chaldæa, succeeded in again making himself master of Babylon; when the Aramæans, the tribes of Arabia, Elam, and the land of Ellip had taken up arms against Sennacherib—the regions of Syria also thought of shaking off the yoke of Assyria. The cities of the Phenicians and of the Philistines, the kingdom of Judah, over which king Hezekiah had ruled since the death of Ahaz (728 B.C.), rebelled. The old opponent of Assyria in the East, Merodach Baladan, sought support in the West; the West put hope in the successes of the East: Babylonia and Syria entered into combination.

The Hebrew Scriptures tell us: "Merodach Baladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babel, sent a letter and present to king Hezekiah. And Hezekiah listened to him, and shewed them all his treasure-house, the silver and the gold, the spices, and the precious oil, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing that he did not show them in his house, and in his dominion."[270] The[Pg 122] request of Merodach Baladan to make common cause with him, which reached Hezekiah in the year 704 B.C.,[271] did not find Judah unprepared. Since Ahaz had purchased the safety of his kingdom before the combined forces of Damascus and Israel, by submission to the dominion of Assyria, Judah had been at peace. In nearly thirty years of peace, which had elapsed since that time, the kingdom had been able to recover her position. The long siege of Samaria, the fall of the kingdom of Israel, were seen by Hezekiah without any movement. But the thought of shaking off one day the yoke of Assyria was not new to him. Sargon has already told us, that at the time when Ashdod rebelled under Yaman (711 B.C.), the Philistines, Edom, Moab and Judah, did indeed pay their tribute, but they thought of treachery, and had sent presents to the king of Egypt (at that time Shabataka, p. 91). Hezekiah had provided armour, weapons and shields in abundance; he could now no doubt show a well-furnished armour-house to the envoys of Merodach Baladan.[272] The neighbours of Judah, the cities of the Philistines, and Sidon among the Phenicians, were prepared to make common cause with Hezekiah. In the deepest secrecy he formed connections with Tirhaka the successor of Shabataka in Egypt and Meroe, and sent him valuable presents.[273] Beside Babylonia, Hezekiah could reckon on Egypt; it was much to the interest of Egypt to nourish the resist[Pg 123]ance of Syria against Assyria, and to support the Syrians against Sennacherib as soon as they took up arms.

Isaiah most earnestly warned the king and the people of Judah against such a rash enterprise—how could any one hope to withstand the crushing power of the Assyrians? "Woe to the rebellious children," is the cry of the prophet to the king and his counsellors, "that take counsel without Jehovah, and make covenants, not in Jehovah's spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who go down to Egypt and enquire not at the mouth of Jehovah, to protect themselves with the protection of Pharaoh, and trust in the shadow of Egypt! The protection of Pharaoh shall be your shame, and the trust in Egypt your confusion. They will carry their riches on the backs of asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels to a people that shall not profit them. Egypt's help is vain and void. I call Egypt a tempest, which sits still. Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, and stay on horses and on chariots because they are many, but look not unto Jehovah! The Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. The protector stumbles, and the protected falls to earth.[274] But ye are a rebellious people, lying children, and will not hear the command of Jehovah. Ye say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us true things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceit.[275] Beware that your bands be not made stronger.[276] Say not, The overflowing scourge shall not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and under deceit we have hid ourselves.[277] The over[Pg 124]flowing scourge shall tread you down. The Lord Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel said, In repentance and rest ye shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength. But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses, we will ride upon the swift.[278] Because ye trust in oppression and perverseness your iniquity shall be as a watercourse breaking out against a high wall, whose breaking cometh in an instant.[279] I have heard from Jehovah God of hosts, of a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth."[280]

"Add ye year to year, let the feasts go round, for I will distress Jerusalem, saith Jehovah, and encamp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and raise forts against thee.[281] The enemy is come to Aiath, he is passed to Migron; at Michmash he hath laid up his carriages. They are gone over the passage; they have taken up their lodging at Geba; Ramah is afraid; Gibeah of Saul is fled. Lift up thy voice, O daughter of Gallim; cause it to be heard unto Laish, O poor Anathoth! Madmenah is removed, and Gebim's inhabitants flee. This day they shall remain in Nob; then he shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.[282] What aileth thee now that thou art wholly gone up to the house-tops, thou that art full of stirs, a tumultuous city, a joyous city? Elam bears the quiver, with chariots of men and horsemen, and Kir uncovers the shield. Thy choicest valleys are full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array against the gate. The walls are broken down, and there is a sound of crying to the mountains."[283][Pg 125]

We saw how Sennacherib succeeded in forcing Merodach Baladan from Babylon into South Chaldæa, in defeating the Aramæans, in driving back the Elamites, and subjugating the land of Ellip (704 and 703 B.C.). After the rebellion in the East was crushed, he turned, in the year 701 B.C., to Syria, to bring again into obedience the rebellious cities and states.[284] In the inscription on the bulls, and on the cylinders Smith and Taylor,[285] Sennacherib tells us: "In my third campaign I marched against the land of the Chatti (the Syrians). Luli (Elulæus), the king of Sidon, was seized with a mighty terror of my rule, and fled from the West land (acharri) to Cyprus (Yatnan), in the sea. I reduced his land to subjection. Great Sidon, and Little Sidon, Beth Zitti, Zarephath, Machallib, Achzib, Akko, his fortified cities, the might of my warriors and the terror of Asshur overpowered them. They submitted to me. Tubal (Ithobal) I placed upon the royal throne over them, and the payment of yearly tribute to my kingdom I imposed upon them as a continuous tax. Menahem of Samaria (the second of this name, p. 87), Tubal of Sidon, Abdilit of Aradus, Urumelek of Byblus, Mitinti of Ashdod, Kamosnadab of Moab, Malikram of Edom[Pg 126]—all the kings of the West land, brought their costly presents and things of price to me, and kissed my feet. But Zidka of Ascalon, who had not bowed to my yoke, the gods of the house of his fathers, the treasures, his wife, his sons, his daughters I brought to Assyria. Sarludari, the son of Rukibti, their former king, I placed over the people of Ascalon. I imposed upon him the payment of tribute, as the symbol of subjection to my rule, and he rendered obedience. In continuing my campaign I marched against the cities of Zidka, Beth Dagon, Yappa (Joppa), Bene Barak, Azor (Yasur), which had not submitted to my service, I besieged them. I took them and led away their prisoners. The chiefs and the nation of Ekron, who had put Padi their king, who remained true and faithful to Assyria,[286] into iron bonds, and had handed him over to Hezekiah (Chazakiyahu) of Judah, my enemy. Their heart was afraid, for the evil deed which they had done. In the neighbourhood of Eltekeh (Altaku), the battle was drawn out against me; they encouraged their warriors to the contest. In the service of Asshur I fought against them and overpowered them. The charioteers and sons of the king of Egypt, together with the charioteers of the king of Meroe, my hand took prisoners in the midst of the fight. Eltekeh and Timnath (Taamna) I attacked, I took, I carried their prisoners away. I marched against the city of Ekron. The priests,[287] the chiefs, who had caused the rebellion, I put to death; I set their bodies on stakes on the outer wall of the city (the inscription of the bulls says: 'I smote them with the sword'). The inhabitants of the city who had exercised oppression and violence, I[Pg 127] set apart to be carried away; to the rest of the inhabitants who had not been guilty of faithlessness and rebellion I proclaimed forgiveness. I brought it about that Padi their king could leave Jerusalem, installed him on his throne of dominion over them, and laid upon him the tribute of my rule. Hezekiah of Judah who did not submit—46 of his fortified cities, and innumerable fortresses and small places in his kingdom I besieged and took. Two hundred thousand one hundred and fifty captives, male and female, horses, mules, asses, camels, oxen, and sheep without number, I took out from them, and declared to be booty of war. Hezekiah himself I shut up like a bird in a cage in Jerusalem (Ursalimma), his royal city. I threw up fortifications and towers against the city; I broke through the exit of the great gate. His cities which I laid waste I separated from his land, and gave them to Mitinti the king of Ashdod, and Padi the king of Ekron, and Ismibil the king of Gaza, and thus I diminished his land. He (Hezekiah) was overcome with fear before my power, and the Urbi (?) and the brave warriors whom he had brought up to Jerusalem for defence inclined to submission. He agreed to pay tribute.[288] Thirty talents of gold, 800 talents of silver, precious stones, chairs of ivory, skins and horns of Amsi, great treasures, his daughters, the servants of his palace, women and men, he sent to Nineveh, my royal abode, and his envoy to pay the tribute and promise submission."[289]

The account of Sennacherib shows that Sidon and Judah stood at the head of the rising in Syria, that the population of the cities of the Philistines was more eager than their princes for war with Assyria. The[Pg 128] men of Ascalon had either deposed their prince, who adhered to Assyria, or raised up Zidka, after him, to oppose Assyria. When Padi, the prince of Ekron, would not join the rebellion against Assyria, the chiefs, the priests, and a part of the population of the city, took him prisoner, and handed him over to Hezekiah. We have already seen from the statements of the Hebrews, that Hezekiah had made better preparations for the contest than Hoshea of Israel 25 years before. Not only were weapons and armour ready for the people; the towers and walls of Jerusalem had been improved and strengthened. The defensive work between Zion and the city, Millo, had been secured by new fortifications, a copious conduit brought into the city. When the danger came, the streams and springs round the city were filled up, and an outer wall was carried round the city as a first line of defence. In order to obtain the materials for this, a number of houses were pulled down in the city.[290]

The Books of Kings tell us that "Sennacherib, king of Assyria, came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. Then Hezekiah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, and said: I have sinned, depart from me; what thou layest upon me I will bear. Then the king of Assyria laid upon Hezekiah 300 talents of silver and 30 talents of gold. And Hezekiah gave all the silver that was in the house of Jehovah, and in the treasures of the king's house, and cut down the doors and posts of the temple of Jehovah, which he had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Asshur. But the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish with a great army against Jerusalem, and when they were come up, they halted by the conduit of the upper pool which[Pg 129] lies by the street of the fuller's field. And they cried to the king. Then there went out to them Eliakim, the overseer of the king's house, and Shebnah the scribe, and Joah the chancellor. And Rabshakeh said to them: Ye trust in the staff of a broken reed, even Egypt, which passes into a man's hand and pierces him who leans upon it. How will ye thrust back a single captain, one of the least of the servants of my master? And Eliakim, Shebnah, and Joah said: Speak to thy servants in Syriac; we understand it; speak not in the Jews' language in the ears of the people that are on the wall. Has my master sent me to thy master and to thee, said Rabshakeh, and not to those who sit on the wall, who, with you, shall eat their dung and drink their water? And Rabshakeh came up and cried with a loud voice, in the Jews' language, towards the wall: Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria: If ye will make peace with me,—thus he saith to you,—and come forth, ye shall eat every one of his own vineyard, and fig tree, and drink the water of his well. But the people remained quiet: for the king had given commandment not to answer the Assyrians. And Rabshakeh turned back, and found the king of Assyria warring before Libnah. Here he heard of Tirhaka, king of Ethiopia, that it was said: See, he has come up to contend with thee. And he again sent messengers to Hezekiah, and said: Be not deceived by thy God in whom thou trustest. Have the gods of the nations whom my fathers overthrew saved them—Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the sons of Eden and Telassar? (p. 6.) Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the kings of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Iva?"[291][Pg 130]

This account of the Hebrews is confirmed, and supplemented by the inscriptions of Sennacherib, given above. They tell us that the king of Assyria directed his arms first against Sidon. He takes the smaller cities of the coast belonging to Sidon, Zarephath, Achsib, Akko. King Elulæus retires to Cyprus. Sidon opens her gates, and receives a new prince, Ithobal (Tubal), at the hands of Sennacherib. Aradus and Byblus bring tribute. It must have been at the time of this campaign in Syria that Sennacherib caused his image to be engraved on the rocks at the mouth of the Nahr el Kelb, beside the reliefs which Ramses II. had caused to be cut there more than 650 years before. The picture represents him in the usual manner of Assyrian rulers, with the kidaris on his head, the right hand raised, and inscriptions in cuneiform letters beside the hieroglyphs of Ramses. The cuneiform inscription is destroyed to such a degree that only the name of Sennacherib can be read. From the coast of the Phenicians Sennacherib marches to the South, along the sea, against the cities of the Philistines. First, the places subject to Ascalon, Japho, Beth Dagon, Bene Barak, Yasur, are besieged and taken. Matinti, the prince of Ashdod, pays tribute to Sennacherib. Ascalon herself appears to have opened her gates while Zidka escaped, for the inscription only mentions the carrying away of his wife, his sons and daughters. Sarludari, the son of Rukibti, who had previously reigned in Ascalon, and remained loyal to Assyria, was placed on the throne. The prince of Samaria, Menahem II., the princes of Moab and Edom, bring tribute. Sennacherib turns against Ekron: as already remarked, the Ekronites had deposed their prince, Padi, and given him up as a prisoner to Hezekiah. Beside Ekron only Judah remains in arms against Assyria.[Pg 131] The account of the Hebrews says that Sennacherib took all the fortified cities in Judah. Sennacherib's account says that he took 46 fortified places, small places without number, and carried away 200,150 men and women. Then, according to the account of the Hebrews, Hezekiah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish to enter into negotiations.

Hezekiah was terrified by the overthrow of the cities of the Phenicians and Philistines, the subjugation of the remaining princes, and the invasion of his land. As the army of Tirhaka was not yet in Syria, he despaired under such circumstances of maintaining his position, and paid the tribute which Sennacherib required—30 talents of gold, and 300 talents of silver, according to the Hebrew account. The statement of Sennacherib gives 30 talents of gold, and 800 talents of silver. The difference is explained if we may assume that the amount given by Sennacherib is founded on the light Babylonian talent, that of the Hebrews on the heavy Syrian talent; 300 heavy Syrian talents are equivalent to 800 light Babylonian talents.[292] If Sennacherib states further that he "brought Padi out of Jerusalem" (p. 126), he, no doubt, required and obtained the surrender of Padi besides the tribute in this negotiation with Hezekiah. But Sennacherib was not content with this demand. It is clear that when the tribute had been paid, and Padi given up, he made the further request to open the gates of Jerusalem. This Hezekiah refused. The siege of Jerusalem, which Hezekiah had sought to avert, commenced. "I shut him up," says Sennacherib, "in Jerusalem, like a bird in a cage."

As the account of the Hebrews shows, Sennacherib did not appear himself in person at Jerusalem.[Pg 132] Hezekiah's envoys find him at Lachish, in the south of Judah. A relief of the palace of Sennacherib at Kuyundshik (p. 106) shows us the king in the camp at Lachish. With two arrows in the right, and the bow in the left hand, he sits in the tent, on a high and richly-adorned chair; two eunuchs with fans are behind him, fanning him; before him is a general, and behind the latter, curly-haired and bearded prisoners, and women among them.[293] The upper inscription says: "Tent of Sennacherib, king of the land of Asshur." The lower inscription says: "Sennacherib, king of the nations, king of the land of Asshur, sits on an exalted throne, to receive the booty from Lachish."[294] As we gathered from his inscriptions, Sennacherib marched along the coast from Sidon to the south; he had passed beyond Japho, when the resistance of Ekron checked him. In order to bring Ashdod and Ascalon to obedience, and to await the approach of Tirhaka, Sennacherib encamped at Lachish, to cover the siege of Ekron, and beat back the Egyptians and Ethiopians who, according to his account, marched to the aid of Ekron. In order to avoid having any enemy in the rear at the time of Tirhaka's arrival, he sends his commander-in-chief, Tartan, with a part of his army, to invade Judah. He was so far successful that Hezekiah paid tribute and surrendered Padi. The surrender of Jerusalem did not take place. He now caused Jerusalem to be invested. Under these circumstances the approach of the Assyrians did not take place, as Isaiah had announced, from the north, through the pass of Michmash, but from the south. When arrived before Jerusalem, the leaders of the Assyrians begin to negotiate; they demand the surrender of the city, "the hope in Egypt is vain." As[Pg 133] they failed to produce an effect on the emissaries of Hezekiah, they attempt to entice the soldiers on the wall to desert. In order to lend force to the negotiations the siege is commenced. Meanwhile the Egyptians come nearer; Sennacherib goes back to Libnah, and the renewed negotiations, which according to the statements of the Hebrews he here commences with Hezekiah, show how anxious he was to get Jerusalem into his hands. As the negotiations failed, he was compelled to attempt to gain the city by assault, by trenches, and besieging towers.

Isaiah had proclaimed the day of judgment with more earnestness than any prophet before him. None of them had set himself with such force to take away every support from the feeling of self-confidence. The Jews were to look forward with fear and trembling to the day of judgment, that they might learn to trust in Jehovah alone, and from this renovation of the heart might spring into blossom the new and better time—the new kingdom. When all splendour and wealth is destroyed; when the chiefs and the warriors are overthrown; when "the sinners in Zion quake, and trembling seizes the godless;" when "the Lord has thus washed away the lewdness of the daughter of Zion,"[295] and "purged away the dross as with lye," then "he will be very gracious to his people which dwelleth in Zion, at the voice of her cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee."[296] But Isaiah had not proclaimed the coming judgment for Judah only; he had announced without ceasing, that no earthly power, however great and proud it might be, could stand before Jehovah. In his lofty conception the judgment over Israel became a judgment over the whole world, from the cleansing punishment of which would arise the[Pg 134] new and true religion for all, a new life in the fear of God and in piety, in righteousness and peace. "The day of the Lord of hosts," he says, "shall be upon every thing that is proud and lofty, and upon every thing that is lifted up; and it shall be brought low; and upon all the cedars of Lebanon, and all the oaks of Bashan, upon all the high mountains, and lofty towers, and upon every fenced wall, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and all costly pictures. The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men, and their idols of silver and gold they shall cast down to the moles and the bats, and Jehovah alone shall be exalted in that day."[297] Thus Egypt and Ethiopia also will be smitten, and at length the line will reach even the scourge with which Jehovah has punished the sins of the others, even the Assyrians. This great day of judgment, "which avenges their misdeeds on the inhabitants of the earth," is followed by the restoration, for Jehovah "smites and heals."[298] As the exiles of Israel shall return from Asshur and the lost from Egypt (the Israelites who had fled thither before Sargon), and Israel's power shall be restored, so will Assyria and Egypt be restored, and Jehovah will say: "Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria, the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance."[299] The standard of Jehovah will be planted on the hill of Zion, and under this banner the people shall assemble. "All nations shall come to the mount of Jehovah to learn the way of Jehovah, and walk in his paths, for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem. Then will Jehovah judge among the nations, and the work of righteousness is peace, and the fruit of righteousness is rest, so that the nations[Pg 135] will beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks. Nation shall not raise up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more.[300] The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid. The cow and the lioness shall feed together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox; the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp."[301] But in order that this happy time, "which shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea," may be brought on, Jehovah's worship must be maintained by a remnant of the people which he has chosen, to which he announced his will since the days of the patriarchs. Isaiah was, therefore, firmly convinced that Zion and the temple of Jehovah, "in which he had founded a precious corner-stone," could not perish;—that "from Jerusalem a remnant would go forth, and the ransomed from Mount Zion." As Jehovah had punished Israel only in measure[302] by carrying the people away into captivity, but had turned aside the complete annihilation of the people, so Isaiah firmly believed that in the present instance also Judah would not be entirely destroyed, that Jerusalem would not be taken, and the judgment of Jehovah would be accomplished[Pg 136] by the harrying and devastation of the whole land by the Assyrians, and the capture of the remaining cities. This hope was in him the more surely founded as Hezekiah worshipped Jehovah with zeal and earnestness.

Though the cities of Judah were lost, and Sennacherib lay in the south of Judah with a mighty army, though hundreds of thousands had been carried away, and Jerusalem itself was now shut up, Isaiah was nevertheless more zealous and earnest in urging the people and the king to resistance than he had previously been in advising them to desist from the undertaking. The line of destruction would soon reach the Assyrians, they would not march into Jerusalem; Jehovah would rescue the remnant of Judah. "Lo! the Assyrian," thus Isaiah represents Jehovah as saying, "the rod of mine anger and the staff of mine indignation is in his hand. Against the people of my wrath I will send him to take the spoil, and to tread them down like the mire of the street.[303] But it shall come to pass that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. For he saith: I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the princes like a valiant man. My hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people, and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent. Shall I not, as I have done to Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols? Shall the axe boast against[Pg 137] him that heweth therewith; or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? As if the rod led him that bears it, or the staff raised the man. Therefore the Lord of hosts will send a blight upon his fatness, and a firebrand will destroy his splendour, and diminish the glory of his forest and his fruitful field, and the remnant of the trees will be so few, that a child may write them.[304] When thou shalt cease to desolate, thou shalt be desolated: when thou shalt make an end to plunder, they shall plunder thee.[305] Jehovah hath determined it from the days of old, and from distant times he hath established it. I have suffered it to take place that the Assyrian destroyed the cities and made them heaps of ruins, and that their inhabitants were put to shame, of small power, as grass of the field. But I know the insolence of the mighty, and his going out and coming in, saith Jehovah. For the sake of his insolence, and because his tumult has come up into my ears, I will put my ring in his nose, and my bit in his mouth, and carry him back on the way that he came. O my people that dwelleth in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian. He smote thee with the rod, and lifted up his staff against thee. Yet a little while and my indignation shall cease, and mine anger shall turn to their destruction, and in that day his burden shall be taken from thy shoulder, and his yoke from thy back.[306] The king of Assyria shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with a shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return. And I will defend this city to save it for my own sake, and for the sake of my servant David.[307] As I have purposed so shall it come[Pg 138] to pass. I will break the Assyrian in my land, and tread him under foot.[308] Lo! a noise of many nations, which make a noise like the sound of mighty waters. But Jehovah shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the whirling dust before the wind. And behold at evening trouble, and before the morning they are not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us."[309]

No doubt the Assyrians threw up trenches and besieging towers round the city; no doubt they endeavoured to destroy the walls and gates. But Jerusalem was saved. The army of Tirhaka, though it appeared very late in Syria, did not fail to come. Sennacherib had time to bring the siege of Ekron to an end, to execute the leaders of the rebellion, to carry away a part of the population, and set up Padi again as the prince of Ekron (p. 127), before the Egyptians and Ethiopians came. He retired before their approach from Libnah to Timnath and Eltekeh, in order, no doubt, to be nearer the part of his army which was besieging Jerusalem, and to be able to withdraw troops from it for the decisive battle. Of this battle, which took place near Eltekeh, he tells us that he was victorious in it; that he took captive charioteers and sons of the princes of Egypt, and charioteers of the king of Meroe in the conflict. But while in other cases the hostile king is invariably mentioned by name, Tirhaka's name is wanting; Sennacherib speaks quite vaguely of the kings of Egypt (sarrani mat Mussuri) and the king of Meroe (sar mat Miluhhi), who came to aid Ekron, of sons of the kings of Egypt, of charioteers of the kings of Meroe, whom he captured; captive sons of princes are also mentioned elsewhere in the inscriptions. Further, Sennacherib does not tell[Pg 139] us, as is usual elsewhere, how many of the enemy were killed, how many prisoners he took, that the enemy fled, and that he pursued them. If we add to this that the siege of Jerusalem ends suddenly according to the account of the Hebrews, that Sennacherib's army did not appear afterwards in Syria, although he sat for 20 years on the throne of Assyria after this battle, we cannot fail to see that Sennacherib, if not completely defeated at Eltekeh, must have suffered the severest losses—losses of such weight that they compelled him to retire immediately after the battle, and break off the siege of Jerusalem on the spot.

This result Sennacherib's inscriptions conceal by speaking very vaguely of the enemy, and bringing into prominence some captures, which may have been effected even by the defeated side in the battle. This concealment was aided by the fact that the rulers who rose again in the districts of Egypt under Sabakon—the "hereditary lords," who maintained themselves under Sabakon's successors—could be described as kings, while their sovereign, Tirhaka, could be kept in the background, and made to appear as the king of Meroe. Of more importance is the attempt in the annals to give the appearance of a favourable issue to the campaign in Syria, by altering the chronology of the events. They represent that, which took place before the battle of Eltekeh, as taking place after it; the invasion of Judah, the negotiations with Hezekiah, his payment of tribute, which according to the account of the Hebrews took place before the battle at Eltekeh, when Sennacherib was at Lachish, they put after the battle, so that Sennacherib's campaign appears to close with the submission of Hezekiah. The inscriptions do not give any false facts: they even mention the attempt to seduce the soldiers of Hezekiah, saying that[Pg 140] "the good warriors, whom he had brought to Jerusalem for defence, were inclined to submission;" they only alter the order, and represent the capture of Ekron, the shutting up and siege of Jerusalem, the division of the land in the south of Judah among Ashdod, Ekron, and Gaza, and, finally, the payment of tribute by Hezekiah, as coming after the battle of Eltekeh, whereas these events preceded it; and in their usual manner they exaggerate the payments of Hezekiah, when they represent him as sending "his daughters" to Nineveh. That the inscription of Nebbi Yunus mentions the subjugation of the land of Judah (Jehuda) and its king Hezekiah (Chazakiyahu), beside the dethronement of Luli of Sidon,[310] has no basis beyond the tribute of 330 talents.

To the Hebrews the rescue from the most grievous distress, the sudden departure of the Assyrians from the walls of Jerusalem, could appear only as a decree of Jehovah, as the work of his mighty arm. When Isaiah announced to Hezekiah the word of Jehovah: "I will protect this city, and save it for my own and my servant David's sake"—the Books of the Kings continue—"It came to pass in the selfsame night that the angel of Jehovah went out, and slew in the camp of the Assyrians 185,000 men.[311] And when they arose in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. Then Sennacherib departed, and went and returned, and dwelt in Nineveh." In most complete contrast to his father Ahaz, who had sacrificed his son to Moloch, and altered the arrangements of the temple at Jerusalem after an Assyrian model (p. 78), Hezekiah was sincerely devoted to the worship of Jehovah. He had "removed the high places, broken the pillars, and destroyed the Astartes;" he had made thorough regu[Pg 141]lations for the purification, arrangement, and elevation of the worship, and taken measures for the better maintenance of the priests and Levites.[312] The revision by the prophetic hand, in which we possess the Books of Kings, naturally derives all the misery which fell upon Israel and Judah from the idolatry of the kings, who for this reason, no doubt, are made to sacrifice on the hills more frequently than was really the case, to offer incense to strange gods, and pray to all the host of heaven. The more easy was it, on the other hand, to believe that the sudden, most unhoped-for rescue of the pious king was brought about by the direct interposition of Jehovah, and the announcement of the great prophet fulfilled on the spot.

The priests of Memphis, or the interpreter, gave the following account of the meeting of Sennacherib and the Egyptians to Herodotus: Sethos, a priest of Hephæstus (of Ptah of Memphis), ruled over Egypt, when Sanacheribus, the king of the Arabs and Assyrians, led a great army against Egypt. Of the warriors in Egypt none would go against him, for Sethos had despised them, as though he had no need of them, treated them badly, and taken away the plots of land which they had possessed under former kings. In despair Sethos lamented in the temple before the image of the god, and the god appeared to him in a dream, and bade him be of good courage; he would suffer no harm if he marched out against the enemies; the god would himself send him helpers. So Sethos marched out with those who would follow of their own will—none of the warriors followed—and pitched his camp near Pelusium. Then field-mice spread over the camp of the enemies, and gnawed to pieces their quivers, their bows, and shield-handles;[Pg 142] and when on the next morning they fled away without arms, many of them were slain. "And now this king," so Herodotus concludes his narrative, "stands in stone in the temple of Hephæstus (of Ptah), with a mouse in his hand, and says by his inscription—'Look on me, and be pious.'"[313] Neither the list of Manetho nor the monuments mention or know a priest Sethos of Memphis, who ruled over Egypt in the days of Sennacherib. The opponent of Sennacherib from the Nile, whose name is passed over in his inscriptions, was Tirhaka, the king of Napata and Egypt, as the Hebrews tell us, and the statement has been already confirmed by the monuments of Egypt.


[270] 2 Kings xx. 12.

[271] Merodach Baladan was, as has been shown (p. 113), driven out of Babylon in the year 703 B.C.; it is certain that he was ruler there in 704 B.C. If the Books of the Kings do not mention his embassy to Hezekiah till after the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians, they show by the announcement of Isaiah to Hezekiah, which they put after the embassy of Merodach Baladan thus: "He will be saved out of the hand of the Assyrians" (2, xx. 6), that the embassy was at Jerusalem before the campaign of Sennacherib; cf. Isa. xxxix.

[272] Isa. xxii. 2; 2 Chron. xxxii. 4, 5.

[273] Isa. xxx. 2, 3, 6.

[274] Isa. xxxi. 1-3.

[275] Isa. xxx. 9, 10.

[276] Isa. xxviii. 12.

[277] Isa. xxviii. 15. The deceit is no doubt to be explained by the secrecy of the negotiations with Egypt.

[278] Isa. xxx. 15, 16.

[279] Isa. xxx. 12, 13.

[280] Isa. xxviii. 22.

[281] Isa. xxix. 1.

[282] Isa. x. 28-32.

[283] Isa. xxi. 1, 2, 5-7.

[284] It is the third warlike enterprise of Sennacherib, which for the following reasons cannot be placed earlier than 702 B.C. The cylinder Bellino dates from the seventh month of the third year of Sennacherib, i. e. from the year 703 / 702; it concludes with the subjugation of Ellip and the tribute of the Medes. Sennacherib, therefore, may have first marched to Syria in the year 701 B.C. The inscription of the bulls narrates this campaign, which extends to the establishment of Assurnadin in Babylon; so the cylinder Smith, which dates from the year 697 B.C. Hence, as the year of Hezekiah's accession is fixed for the year 728 B.C. (p. 16, n.), the siege of Jerusalem does not fall in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah, in which the Books of Kings place it, but in the twenty-eighth year.

[285] I combine these three accounts, which differ but little from each other.

[286] Cylinder Smith, "Disc." p. 304.

[287] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 304.

[288] Inscription of the bulls in E. Schrader, "K. A. T." l. 31, s. 187.

[289] E. Schrader, "K. A. T." 171 ff. G. Smith, "Disc." p. 303 ff. Rodwell, "Records of the Past," 7, 61 ff.

[290] Isa. xxii. 9, 10, 11.

[291] 2 Kings xviii. 13 ff.; 2 Kings xix. 8-13; Isa. xxxvi., xxxvii.; 2 Chron. xxxii.

[292] Brandis, "Münzwesen," s. 98.

[293] Room 36, in Layard.

[294] E. Schrader, "K. A. T." s. 170.

[295] Isa. i. 25.

[296] Isa. xxx. 19.

[297] Isa. ii. 12-22.

[298] Isa. xix. 22.

[299] Isa. xix. 25.

[300] Isa. ii. 3, 4.

[301] Isa. xi. 6-8; cf. xxv. 6-12; xxxv. 5-10. The ideas of the happy future are not quite consistent in Isaiah. If in one place he extends the peace of the world down to the beasts of prey, in others he represents the restored kingdom of David, the united Ephraim and Judah, as "oppressing their oppressors." "Judah will be a terror for Egypt" (xix. 17), and the Israelites will "flee to the sea on the shoulders of the Philistines: together they will plunder the sons of the East, and subjugate Edom, Moab, and Ammon" (xi. 14). In the same way the new king of the race of David, who will then rule, appears to him at one time gifted with the strength of David, and is again described as participating in the Divine nature, and passes into a general picture of the happy future.

[302] Isa. xxvii. 8.

[303] Isa. x. 5, 6.

[304] Isa. x. 7-18.

[305] Isa. xxxiii. 1.

[306] Isa. x. 24-27.

[307] 2 Kings xix. 25-33; Isa. xxxvi., xxxvii. 1-34.

[308] Isa. xiv. 24-27.

[309] Isa. xvii. 12-14.

[310] In Ménant, "Annal." p. 231.

[311] 2 Kings xix. 35, 36.

[312] 2 Kings xviii. 4.

[313] Herod. 2, 141.



[Pg 143]



Sennacherib had been compelled to retire from Syria before the Egyptians and Ethiopians, before the army of Tirhaka. If he did not seek to compensate this failure by new campaigns to Syria, if he omitted to attempt the subjugation of Syria a second time, the reason obviously lay in the fact, that his arms were occupied nearer home by the rebellion of Babylonia, the attitude of Merodach Baladan in South Chaldæa, and his combination with Elam. We are acquainted with the series of rebellions and struggles which Sennacherib had to meet here, till in the year 694 B.C. he finally succeeded in overcoming the confederates leagued against him in a great battle, and capturing the city of Babylon (p. 118). Yet even after these important successes, Sennacherib's armies, so far as we see, never appeared again in Syria. The Books of the Hebrews tell us nothing of any further attacks of Sennacherib on Judah: they merely say: "Sennacherib afterwards remained in Nineveh." The accounts preserved in the inscriptions of the campaigns of Sennacherib do not go beyond the capture of Babylon: the account which reaches furthest down is dated 691 B.C. Of the next ten years, during which Sennacherib continued to sit on the throne of Assyria, we have no connected information. Even the inscrip[Pg 144]tions which collect the acts of Sennacherib, the inscription of Nebbi Yunus, and the inscription of Bavian, end their account of his military deeds with the battle of Chaluli and the capture of Babylon. Indications lead to the conclusion that Sennacherib, even in this last decade of his reign, was so actively engaged in contests on the lower Euphrates and against Elam, that he was compelled to leave Syria to her fate. The fragment of an inscription speaks of Sennacherib's wars against a queen of the Arabs; in an inscription of his successor also we hear of a conquest of Sennacherib in Arabia.[314] Tiglath Pilesar had fought against Samsieh, the queen of the Arabs, Sargon had received tribute from her, and Sargon and Tiglath Pilesar had also received the tribute of the Sabæans.[315] Herodotus, as we saw (p. 141), calls Sennacherib the king of "the Arabians and Assyrians," from which we may conclude that in the tradition of Egypt, on which this account given by Herodotus of Sennacherib was based, he was a ruler to whom a considerable part of Arabia was subject. In the inscriptions of the successor of Sennacherib, we find at his accession Nabuzir, a son of Merodach Baladan, in possession of Bit Yakin, the land of the sea, the old domain of his race.[316] He must, therefore, have won it back in Sennacherib's time, and though he may have had to pay tribute he must have maintained his conquest. Lastly, we hear that Halludus, the successor of Uman Minanu of Elam, made a vigorous resistance to Sennacherib, and that Sennacherib won from him Bit Imbi, a border fortress.[317][Pg 145]

Sennacherib's inscriptions repeatedly inform us that he caused trees to be felled on Mount Amanus, i. e. in the neighbourhood of Cilicia, for his buildings.[318] Inscriptions from the third and ninth years of Sennacherib also mention the fact that captive Cilicians were compelled to work at these buildings (p. 107), and in the inscription of Nebbi Yunus, the mention of the Syrian campaign of Sennacherib is followed by the statement, that he reduced the Cilicians, who inhabited the forests, and destroyed their cities.[319] Sennacherib, therefore, must have maintained by repeated contests the dominion over the Cilicians, which Sargon had already gained (p. 103). Polyhistor tells us that Sennacherib in Assyria heard of the landing of a Grecian army in Cilicia; he hastened thither and defeated the Greeks, after losing many of his own people; in remembrance of this victory he caused his image to be set up there, with an inscription in Chaldæan letters, as evidence of his bravery and skill, and built the city of Tarsus after the model of Babylon. In the somewhat different account of Abydenus, Sennacherib, after subjugating Babylon, defeated a fleet of the Greeks in a naval battle off the coast of Cilicia, founded the temple of Anchiale, set up brazen pillars with an inscription of his achievements, and built the city of Tarsus after the model of Babylon, so that the Cydnus flowed through Tarsus in the same manner as the Euphrates through Babylon. Hellanicus had already told the Greeks that Tarsus and Anchiale had been built by a ruler of Babylon, and the companions of Alexander of Macedon saw near the walls of Anchiale the picture of a king of Assyria, with the right hand raised.[320][Pg 146]

After an eventful reign of 24 years, Sennacherib came to an end even more miserable than the end of his father (681 B.C.[321]). "When Sennacherib was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god," so we find in the Books of Kings, "his sons Adramelech and Nergal Sarezer slew him with the sword. They escaped into the land of Ararat, and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead."[322] According to Polyhistor, Ardumuzanes, the son of Sennacherib, was the treacherous assassin of his father; in Abydenus Nergilus succeeds Sennacherib; Nergilus was slain by his son Adrameles, who was killed by his brother Axerdis, and his army driven back to the city of Bizana (in Armenia).[323] The canon of the Assyrians merely mentions at the year 681 B.C., "Assur-akh-iddin (Esarhaddon) ascends the throne."[324] Sennacherib's inscriptions told us that after the campaign in which he had driven Merodach Baladan out of Bit Yakin, he had placed his eldest son, Assurnadin, as regent over Babylon (p. 115). Of this Assurnadin we only know this fact: we hear nothing of his later fortunes. On a tablet, Sennacherib states that he has set apart golden chains, ivory, and precious stones, a mina and a half in weight, for his son Esarhaddon.[325] Esarhaddon, there[Pg 147]fore, a fourth son of Sennacherib, wrested from his brothers, Adramelech and Nergal Sarezer, the murderers of his father, the fruit of their evil deeds, and became Sennacherib's successor.

The acts of Esarhaddon show that he was a prince of energy, and knew how to guide the reins with a strong hand. His father's reign had not been poor in results, but still he had not been able to maintain the dominion of Sargon in its full extent: he had been compelled to give up Syria. Esarhaddon was not only able to recover this loss, he raised Assyria to a height which she had never attained before. Shalmanesar II. had trodden Syria, received the tribute of Israel, and reduced the west of Iran to submission; Tiglath Pilesar II. had seen Arachosia, received the homage of Judah, and ruled over Babylonia; Sargon had held sway over Syria and Babylonia, Cilicia and Media; Esarhaddon kept the west of Iran in submission; he not only extended the dominion of Assyria further to the north than any of his predecessors; he reduced Babylon to certain obedience, his armies passed far beyond the borders of Syria, and of Asia towards the south-west.

According to a cylinder found at Kuyundshik and much injured at the beginning, Esarhaddon with his army hastened to Nineveh; Asshur, Samas, Bel, Nebo, and Istar, had fortunately placed him on the throne of his father. In Nineveh he heard that Nabu-zir, the son of Merodach Baladan, the lord of Bit Yakin, had attacked the faithful overseer of Ur (Mugheir), had smitten him with the sword, and refused homage. Esarhaddon sends his troops against Nabu-zir, who flies before them to Elam: Nahid Merodach, the brother of Nabu-zir, comes from Elam to pay homage to Esarhaddon; he receives the land[Pg 148] of the sea-coast, the inheritance of his brother. "Without fail," we are further told, "he came each year to Nineveh, with rich presents to kiss my feet."[326] The inscription of a second cylinder, found at Nebbi Yunus, mentions the same event. "Nabu-zir," we are told, "trusted in Elam, but he did not by that means save his life. I requested his brother Nahid Merodach to do homage to me. He hastened from Elam to Nineveh, and kissed my feet; the whole of the sea-coast I gave to him."[327] "Samas-ibni, prince of Bit Dakkur in Chaldæa, took land in possession which belonged to the sons of Babylon and Borsippa. I gave it back to them, and put Nabu-Sallim, the son of Balasu, on the throne, who became my servant."[328] On a third cylinder (Aberdeen) Esarhaddon says: "At the beginning of my reign, on my first warlike enterprise, I established myself firmly on the seat of my dominion." He marches to Babylon, makes prisoners, assembles the warriors, and all the tribes of the inhabitants of Kardunias, assumes the crown, and bids the chiefs prostrate themselves before him.[329] That Esarhaddon bore the crown of Babylon is told us in the current title of his inscriptions: "King of Asshur, king of Babel, king of Sumir and Accad (king of Kardunias)." According to the astronomical canon, Asaridinus (Assur-akh-iddin) reigns over Babylon from the beginning of the year 680 B.C. to the end of the year 668 B.C. Over Assyria Esarhaddon reigned from 681 to 668 B.C.

Esarhaddon appears to have adopted a different method from his fathers for securing his dominion over Babylonia. So far as we can see, he attempted[Pg 149] to pacify and win the Babylonians by mild regulations, by setting up the temples destroyed by his father, and restoring the city. A tablet of Esarhaddon narrates in detail the wars which Sennacherib carried on against Babylonia, and then mentions the destruction of the city in order to conclude with the enumeration of the buildings which he, Esarhaddon, erected in Babylon.[330] According to the cylinder Aberdeen, Esarhaddon, at his coronation in Babylon, liberated the prisoners whom he had taken; according to the cylinder of Nebbi Yunus, he restored, as already mentioned, to the sons of Babylon and Borsippa the land which Samas-ibni of Bit Dakkur had taken from them. The cylinder Aberdeen tells us that Esarhaddon fixed the year and the day for the building, i. e. for the restoration of Bit Saggatu—it was the chief temple of Babylon, the sanctuary of Bel Merodach, the protecting deity of the city (I. 295)—that he had bricks made for this building, that he restored the injured temples of the gods, and the walls of Babylon, Imgur-Bel, and Nivit Bel.[331] Bricks of the ruin-heaps of Amram Ibn Ali, on the site of the ancient Babylon, bear the stamp: "To the god of Merodach, his lord, Esarhaddon, king of Asshur, king of Babel, begun and built the altars of Bit Saggatu."[332] On the cylinder of Nebbi Yunus, Esarhaddon says: "When Samas, Bel, Nebo, Istar of Nineveh, and Istar of Arbela had given me the victory over my enemies, out of the booty of foreign lands, which my hand reduced by the aid of the great god, my lord, I built (36 great) temples in the cities of Assyria and Babylonia, covered them with silver and gold, and made them to shine as the day."[333][Pg 150]

Of Esarhaddon's relations to Elam, the inscriptions only tell us that he strongly fortified a border-city against Elam.[334] The tribes of the Arabs were reduced far and wide. The cylinder of Nebbi Yunus mentions the city of Adumu, the fortress of the Arabs, which Sennacherib took;[335] he, Esarhaddon, made Tabua, a woman brought up in his palace, queen of the Arabs, and increased by 65 camels the tribute paid to his father. When Hazael, the prince of another Arabian tribe, died, Esarhaddon put his son Yahlu on the throne, and raised the tribute paid by Hazael by 10 minæ of gold, 50 camels, and payments of other kinds.[336] The distant land of Bazu had been trodden by none of his forefathers; he advanced thither; six princes of this region, Kisu, Akbaru, Mansaku, Habizu, Niaru, Habanamru, and two queens, Yapah and Bailu, he slew; their gods, their possessions, and their people, he carried off to Assyria; the king of the Gambul, who dwelt in the marshes and waters (in the region at the mouth of the Euphrates), submitted, and brought presents and tribute.[337]

In the East, Esarhaddon kept the tribes of the Medes in subjection. The cylinder of Nebbi Yunus says: "The land of Patusarra, a region in the neighbourhood of ——, in the midst of the distant land of Media, on the border of the land of Bikni, of the copper-mountains—this land none of the kings, my forefathers, had subjugated. Sitirparna and Iparna, the princes of the strong places, had not bowed before me; I carried them to Assyria, with their subjects, horses, chariots, oxen, sheep, asses, as rich booty." "Arpis, Zanasana, Ramatiya, the princes of the cities[Pg 151] of Partakka, Partukka, and Uraka-Zabarna in the land of Media, the position of which was distant, who in the days of the kings, my forefathers, had not trodden the soil of Assyria,—the fear of Asshur my lord threw them down; they brought for me to my chief city, Nineveh, their great beasts, copper (?), the product of their mines, bowed themselves with folded hands before me, and besought my favour. I placed my viceroys over them, who united the inhabitants of those regions with my kingdom; I laid upon them burdens, and a fixed tribute."[338]

Of Esarhaddon's acts in the North, we learn that he drove out the inhabitants of the land of Van from their dwellings, that he trod down the inhabitants of the land of Chilaki (Cilicia), and the Duha who dwelt in the forests of the land of Tabal. Twenty-one fortresses, and the small places round them, he took and burnt down; and carried away the inhabitants. Tiuspa of the land of Gimirai (Cimmeria), which lay in the far distance, submitted to him.[339]

The most important achievements of Esarhaddon were accomplished in the West. On the cylinder of Kuyundshik, the expulsion of Nabu-zir, and the establishment of Nahid Merodach his brother in Bit Yakin, to which the cylinder of Nebbi Yunus adds the subjugation of Bit Dakkur, is followed by a campaign of Esarhaddon to Syria, which must, therefore, fall in the year 679 or 678 B.C. Sennacherib had dethroned Elulæus of Sidon in the year 701 B.C., and put Ithobal in his place (p. 125.) Ithobal was no longer at the head in Sidon. Esarhaddon tells us, that Abdimilkut of Sidon, and Sanduarri, a king in the mountain-land (therefore, no doubt, a prince of[Pg 152] Lebanon), united against him. "Abdimilkut trusted in his position by the great sea, and threw off my yoke."[340] "The great city of Sidon," so we are told on a cylinder of Nebbi Yunus, "which lies on the sea, I attacked; all their places, fortresses and dwellings, I destroyed; I threw them into the sea. Abdimilkut, who had fled before the face of my warriors into the middle of the sea, I seized like a fish, and cut off his head. His possessions, gold, silver, and precious stones, the treasures of his palace, his innumerable people, oxen, sheep, and asses, I carried away to Assyria. The princes of the land of Chatti (Syria) I collected. I caused a new city to be built, and called it the city of Esarhaddon. The people which my bow had taken in the lands and on the sea of the rising sun (i. e. the inhabitants carried away from Bit Yakin), I settled there, and placed my viceroys over them. I caught Sanduarri like a bird in the midst of the mountains, and caused his head to be cut off. The heads of Sanduarri and Abdimilkut I hung up beside the heads of their chiefs, and marched to Nineveh."[341]

The overthrow of Sidon, and the terrible example which Esarhaddon had made by this execution of the conquered princes, appears to have frightened all Syria into obedience. To this, at any rate, the assembling of all the princes of Syria, of which the cylinder speaks, points; and we learn further, without any mention of new contests in Syria, that the princes of Cyprus paid homage to Esarhaddon. After the cylinder has narrated the achievements of Esarhaddon against the Arabs, the Medes, and the Cilicians, which he accomplished down to the close of the year 674 B.C. (the cylinder bears the date of the year of Atarilu[Pg 153] i. e. of 673 B.C.), it proceeds to the description of the buildings of Esarhaddon. In Nineveh he built at the smaller edifice of his father to the south of the Khosr, and at the great palace of Sennacherib to the north of it (p. 106). The description of the buildings begins with the mention of an embassy of Esarhaddon to the princes of Syria and Cyprus, and their assembling; they have to provide the material and adornment of these palaces by taxes and contributions. Twelve kings of the Chatti were called upon: Baal, king of Tyre; Manasses, king of Judah (Minasi sar ir Jahudi); Kausgabri, king of Edom; Musuri, king of Moab; Zilli-Bel, king of Gaza; Mitinti, king of Ascalon; Ituzu, king of Ekron; Milkiasap, king of Byblus; Matanbaal, king of Arvad; Abibaal, king of Samaria; Puduil, king of Ammon; Achmilku, king of Ashdod. No mention is made of a prince of Sidon; as the inscriptions told us above, that city was under a viceroy of the king. In addition to these twelve kings, a summons was sent to "ten kings of Yatnan (Cyprus), in the midst of the sea:" Ikistusu (Aegisthus) king of Idalium (Idial); Pisuaguru (Pythagoras), king of Kitrusi (Chytrus?); ——, king of Salamis (Sillumi); Ituandar (Eteandros), king of Paphus (Pappa); Iriil (according to another reading Eresu), king of Soli (Sillu); Damasu (Damasus), king of Kurion; Rumisu, king of Tamasus; Damusi, king of Amtihatasti (Amathus?); Unasagusa, king of Limenia (Limini); Buhli, king of Aphrodision (Upridissa). "In all, I called upon 22 kings of the land of the Chatti on the sea coast and in the sea."[342][Pg 154]

But in spite of this obedience of the princes of Syria and Cyprus, Esarhaddon had to undergo contests in Syria after this time, i. e. after the year 674 B.C., which brought him beyond the borders of Syria. In the year 697 B.C. Manasses succeeded his father Hezekiah in Judah; he was then a boy of 12 years of age.[343] But when he came of age he did not follow in the steps of his pious father; therefore, we are told in the Chronicles, Jehovah caused the captains of the army of the king of Assyria to come upon him; they took Manasses prisoner with thorns, and bound him in chains, and carried him to Babel. And when he was in distress he besought Jehovah, and humbled himself before the God of his fathers, and Jehovah heard his prayer, and caused him to return to Jerusalem, to his kingdom.[344] The Books of the Hebrews further tell us that Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, settled people from Persia, Erech and Babel, from Susa and Elam, in Samaria.[345] The carrying away of Manasses, and strengthening of the foreign population in Israel, can only have been caused by attempts at rebellion in the kingdom of Judah and land of Israel. These attempts must have taken place after 674 B.C., with which year the cylinders close, which narrate the deeds of Esarhaddon down to this point, without any mention of such rebellions; on the contrary, we saw that these cylinders at the close of this epoch describe Manasses of Judah and Abibaal of Samaria as among the obedient and tributary vassals[Pg 155] of Esarhaddon. The fragment of an inscription of Esarhaddon, which narrates the events of his tenth campaign, and which we cannot place before the year 673 B.C., as there is no mention of the campaign in the inscriptions dated from that year, informs us of a rebellion of Baal, king of Tyre, who was mentioned at the close of the inscriptions previously quoted at the head of the vassals of Esarhaddon in Syria. We can assume the more certainly that Judah and Samaria joined this rebellion, as the fragment adds: King Baal of Tyre "threw off the yoke of Assyria, trusting in king Tarku (Tirhaka) of Cush."[346]

It must have been the interference of Egypt, the hope in Egypt and Ethiopia, which urged a portion of the Syrians to renewed attempts at rebellion. Tirhaka, as we have seen, fought against Esarhaddon's father in the year 701 B.C., by no means without success, at Eltekeh; after the battle Sennacherib abandoned Syria. The restoration of the supremacy of Assyria, which took place after the overthrow of Abdimilkut of Sidon, was calculated to drive the ruler of Egypt and Ethiopia to an attempt to prevent the establishment of Assyria on his borders. In the hope of such assistance, Tyre, which stood at the head of Phœnicia, after the defeat of Sidon, may have taken up arms; Judah and Samaria may have joined her. The fragment of another inscription of Esarhaddon tells us that he sent out his forces "to fight against Tarku, the king of Cush, against the men of Egypt, and the allies of Tarku" (i. e. no doubt, against Tyre, Judah and Samaria). The Assyrian army won the victory. Tarku fled.[347] The return of Tirhaka was followed by the subjugation of Judah and Samaria,[Pg 156] the carrying away of Manasses to Babel (Esarhaddon built, as we saw, at Babel, and then, no doubt, resided there), and the settlement of inhabitants from the East in Samaria, in order to secure the obedience of this land. We may put these events in the year 673 B.C. As Tyre on her island continued her resistance, Esarhaddon marched to break this down, on his tenth campaign, in the early spring, in the month of Nisan, crossed the swollen waters of the Euphrates and Tigris, caused fortifications to be thrown up against Tyre, cut them off, as he says, from water and food, and directed his march against Muzur (Egypt) and Miluhhi (Napata). From Aphek in Samaria he set out southwards against Raphia (Refah near Gaza), where his grandfather Sargon had defeated Sabakon (Seveh) of Ethiopia and Egypt nearly 50 years before (p. 88). On the march through the desert the army suffered from want of water; but Merodach came to the aid of Esarhaddon's warriors, and saved their lives,—as the inscription tells us, which breaks off at the point where it is telling of the first conflict with the enemy. After the indubitable successes of Esarhaddon against Tirhaka, Tyre submitted: the king Baal was pardoned; we find him again at the head of the city under Esarhaddon's successor. In the same way, after the subjection of Tyre, or some time later, when no one in Syria could any longer found hopes on Egypt, Manasses again became king of Judah, as the Hebrews state. In the list of the subject princes of Syria after the death of Esarhaddon, the king of Judah follows immediately after Baal of Tyre; unfortunately the name (in any case Manasses) is broken off.

Either on the campaign, of which the first incidents have been already related in the fragment last mentioned, or on a campaign immediately following,[Pg 157] Tirhaka was not only defeated, but driven out of Egypt, back to his own native land. Esarhaddon became lord of Egypt. A fragment of Abydenus says: "Esarhaddon obtained the lower portions of Syria and Egypt by conquering them."[348] On that rock of the Phenician coast at the mouth of the Nahr el Kelb, between Byblus and Berytus, where Sennacherib had caused his picture and inscription to be engraved beside the sculptures of Ramses II., Esarhaddon also caused his image to be engraved, after he had become master of Egypt. In its damaged condition the inscription only allows us to ascertain that victories over Tirhaka, the capture of Memphis, the conquest of Egypt, are mentioned in them. At the close the inscription speaks of Tyre, and again mentions 22 kings, i. e. it records the second complete submission of Syria.[349] Esarhaddon's successor informs us: his father had marched to Egypt, and forced his way to the midst of Egypt. "He defeated Tirhaka, the king of Cush, and destroyed his power. He conquered Egypt (Muzur) and Cush, and carried away innumerable prisoners. He subjugated the land throughout its whole extent, and annexed it to Assyria. The earlier names of the cities he altered, and gave them new names; his servants and viceroys he entrusted with the dominion over them; the payment of tribute he imposed upon them."[350] The list of the 20 viceroys or princes which Esarhaddon placed over Egypt after the expulsion of Tirhaka, allows us to see that the greater number of the reigning families in the districts of Egypt, who had maintained themselves under the[Pg 158] dominion of the Ethiopians, must have recognised the dominion of Esarhaddon in the place of the dominion of Tirhaka, and passed from vassalage to him into vassalage to Assyria. But not all. Many of them may have shared Tirhaka's fortunes. In the place of those who did not adapt themselves to the new rule, came others who thought to rise as adherents of Assyria. The prince who received from Esarhaddon the regions of Sais and Memphis, and consequently the most important position, Niku (Necho), was certainly a man who had vigorously supported the new government.[351] Sarludari is said to have governed the canton of Zitinu; Pakruru, the land of Pisaptu; Putubasti, the land of Tanis (Zanu, Zoan); Harsiesu administered the land of Zabnuti (Sebennytus); Tapnachti (Tnephachtus), the canton of Bunubu; Sushinqu, the land of Busiris (Pusiru); Ziha, the land of Siut; Lamintu, the land of Chimuni; Ispimatu, the land of Taini (Thinis); Muntimianche, the land of Thebes (Niha).[352] According to this, Esarhaddon made those princes of the districts in Egypt who, though they had hitherto obeyed Tirhaka, were willing to submit to him, his vassals, so far as he did not[Pg 159] replace them by Egyptians, whom he considered more trustworthy, and here and there by Assyrians. To Necho he handed over or continued the important districts of Memphis and Sais. As Necho of Sais came to the throne, according to the statement of Manetho, eight years before Psammetichus, and Psammetichus, according to the date of the Egyptians, became king in 664 B.C., Necho's accession falls in 672 B.C., and the conquest of Egypt by Esarhaddon may be placed in this year. The conquest of Cush, i. e. of the land of the South, is due to the exaggeration of Esarhaddon: we find Tirhaka soon after in possession of Napata. The slabs of reliefs which Esarhaddon caused to be made for the adornment of the new palace which he began to build at Chalah after the conquest of Egypt, bear on the reverse the inscription: "Palace of Esarhaddon, king of Asshur and Babel, king of Muzur (Lower Egypt), king of Patrus (Patores, Upper Egypt), of the land of Miluhhi (Meroe), and of the land of Cush."[353]

This new palace at Chalah was built by Esarhaddon in the south-west corner of the terrace on which rise the royal fortresses of this city, to the west of the building of Tiglath Pilesar II. In extent it comes nearest to the palace of Assurnasirpal in the north-west corner (II. 311). But it was not completed, though Esarhaddon did not hesitate to take the reliefs from the palace of Tiglath Pilesar and use them for his new building (p. 14). A broad staircase leads to the south front, to a double portico guarded by lions and sphinxes. The sphinxes are recumbent lion-bodies, with wings; the human head bears the Assyrian tiara surrounded by horns. These forms, not elsewhere found in Syria, prove a certain imitation of Egyptian[Pg 160] models, which the Assyrians must have become first acquainted with on the Nile.[354]


[314] G. Smith, "Assyr. Canon," p. 139. The fragment must speak of events subsequent to the year 691B.C., since the cylinder Taylor, which dates from this year, does not mention this war.

[315] Above, p. 11.

[316] E. Schrader, "K. A. T.," s. 227.

[317] G. Smith, "Assurbanipal," p. 207, 247. Ménant, "Annal." p. 291.

[318] e. g. Nebbi Yunus in Ménant, loc. cit. p. 233.

[319] Nebbi Yunus in Ménant, p. 231.

[320] Alexander and Abydenus in Euseb. "Chron." I. p. 27, 35, ed. Schöne. For templum Atheniensium, it is obvious that we must read Anchialensium.

[321] Private documents from the reign of Sennacherib on the sale of houses, vineyards, slaves, debts, are in existence from the years 699, 695, 694, 692, 687, 683, Oppert et Ménant, "Doc. juridiq." p. 169 ff.

[322] Kings xix. 37. The statement of Josephus ("Antiq." 10, i. 5) rests only on this passage. In calling Adramelechus and Saraserus the elder sons of Sennacherib, and representing them as fleeing before the Assyrians to Armenia, he can scarcely have any other authority than this passage, although immediately before he quotes a passage of Berosus.

[323] Bizana is a conjecture of Von Gutschmid for in Byzantinorum urbem.

[324] G. Smith, "Assyr. Canon," p. 39.

[325] Sayce, "Records of the Past," 7, 138.

[326] Talbot, "Records of the Past," 3, 104-106.

[327] Talbot, loc. cit. 3, 114.

[328] Talbot, loc. cit.; Ménant, "Annal." p. 243.

[329] Ménant, loc. cit. p. 248.

[330] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 314.

[331] Ménant, p. 248.

[332] Ménant, p. 247.

[333] Talbot, "Records of the Past," 3, 119; Ménant, p. 245.

[334] Talbot, loc. cit. p. 118.

[335] G. Smith, "Assyr. Canon," p. 137.

[336] Talbot, "Records," 3, 116.

[337] Talbot, loc. cit. p. 106, 116, 117.

[338] So E. Schrader translates.

[339] Vol. I. p. 547; Ménant, loc. cit. p. 242.

[340] Talbot, "Records," 3, 106.

[341] G. Smith, "Assyrian Canon," p. 137, 138.

[342] E. Schrader, "K. A. T." s. 228; G. Smith, "Assyrian Canon," p. 139; Talbot, "Records," 3, 108; the name of Eteander of Paphus is also read on golden armlets, found at Kurion. Cf. G. Smith, "Assurbanipal," p. 31.

[343] The year 697 is obtained for the accession of Manasses, by calculating the reigns of the kings of Judah from the date of the taking of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, i. e. from the year 586 B.C. As Hezekiah must have ascended the throne in 728B.C. (p. 17, n.), he reigned no doubt two years longer than the Books of Kings allow, which allot to him a reign of 29 years.

[344] Chron. xxxiii. 11-13.

[345] Ezra iv. 2, 9.

[346] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 212.

[347] G. Smith, "Assyr. Canon." p. 141.

[348] In Eusebius, "Chron." I. p. 35, ed. Schöne.

[349] Oppert, "Mémoires de l' Acad. des Inscript.," 1869, 1, 578. G. Smith, "Assyrian Canon," p. 169.

[350] E. Schrader, "K. A. T." s. 212.

[351] Psammetichus begins to reign in the year 664, according to the Egyptian reckoning, as will be shown below. The list of Manetho allots eight years to his father Necho. Necho, therefore, began to reign in 672 B.C., i. e. in the year in which Esarhaddon conquered Egypt. Nechepsus and Stephinates, whom Manetho places six and seven years before Necho, belong to the family of Psammetichus. Perhaps they were at the head of Isis, under Tirhaka; then Necho, the son of Nechepsus, would have made himself noticed by Esarhaddon by going over to him.

[352] G. Smith, "Assurbanipal," p. 20 ff. Haigh, "Zur aeg. Sprache," 1871; s. 71 ff. The Muntimianche of Thebes may be the Month-em-ha of the inscription of the temple of Mut at Thebes, the pious foundations of which it enumerates; in a slab found in this temple he is called: "Hereditary lord, prince of Patores, prophet of Ammon." Brugsch, "Hist, of Egypt," II. 270.

[353] Ménant, "Annal." p. 249.

[354] Private documents on the sale of lands, slaves, on loans from the time of Esarhaddon, are in existence, belonging to the years 680, 677, 676, 674, 671. Oppert et Ménant, "Docum. jurid." Cf. G. Smith, "Disc." p. 415 ff.



[Pg 161]



In his last years Esarhaddon had raised his son Assurbanipal to be co-regent with himself.[355] Shortly before his death, which overtook him in the year 668 B.C. after a short but eventful reign of 13 years, he appears to have given up the government entirely to him.[356] Immediately after his accession the new prince received the intelligence that Tirhaka, whom his father had driven out of Egypt into Napata, had invaded Egypt, and taken Memphis, that the princes whom Esarhaddon had entrusted with the government of Egypt had fled before Tirhaka into the desert.[357] Assurbanipal collected his army in order to maintain Egypt. In Syria he received the homage of the princes of that land and of Cyprus, who had brought tribute and had been subject to his father. These were the lords of the states mentioned in the inscriptions of Esarhaddon,—the princes of Tyre, Judah, Edom, Moab, Gaza, Ascalon, Ekron, Byblus, Arvad; with the exception of Baal of Tyre (p. 156), their names are broken out of the inscription (Cylinder C); [Pg 162]the three last states of Syria, found in the list of Esarhaddon, Samaria, Ammon, and Ashdod, are also wanting here. Then follow the kings of Cyprus, in which the cities and the persons are those of the list of Esarhaddon; only the three first are wanting. But as the whole number is again put at 22 princes of the land of the coast and the sea, we may conclude with certainty that from the year 672 B.C.—since the rebellion and re-installation of Baal of Tyre, and Manasses of Judah, there had been no movements and changes in Syria.

Assurbanipal informs us that he went down from Syria to Egypt; at Karbanit he met the army of Tirhaka, and drove it out of the field. When Tirhaka heard of this at Memphis, he retired to Thebes. Assurbanipal pursued him, took the city, and caused his army to encamp in it; he restored the 20 princes to whom his father had given the districts of Egypt, left behind a portion of his army, and returned to Nineveh with rich booty (668 B.C.).[358] Tirhaka was again forced back to Napata,[359] but the dominion of Assyria was not yet firmly established in Egypt. Assurbanipal may have imposed heavier duties on the rulers of the districts; the continued stay of Assyrian troops in Egypt may have appeared too burdensome and oppressive. Whatever the motive, some of these vassals entered into secret communication with Tirhaka; at their head was Necho, the chief of the most important districts, Memphis and Sais, and with him Sarludari of Zihinu, and Pakruru of Pisaptu. They intended to return from the vassalage of Assyria to the vassalage of Napata; they invited Tirhaka to return to Egypt[Pg 163] and again seize the sovereign power. The condition would without doubt be that Tirhaka should continue them in their rule over the cities and districts which Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal had given over to them. But the leaders of the Assyrian troops captured their messenger, caused Necho, Sarludari, and Pakruru to be arrested, put them in chains, and sent them to Nineveh. The Assyrians took Memphis, Mendes (Ben-didi), and Tanis (Zanu, Zoan), cut down the inhabitants who resisted, and broke the towers on their walls. Tirhaka retired before the Assyrian troops to Napata.

It appears that Assurbanipal attempted to give other supports than mere force of arms to his rule over the distant Egypt. He released Necho from his bonds, restored to him the government of Sais, and gave to his son Neboshezban the government of the canton of Athribis: "I continued to extend to them," he tells us, "the kindness and favour which my father had shown them." Even these means were soon found to be insufficient. Tirhaka's days came to an end. He was succeeded on the throne of Napata by Urdamane, whom Assurbanipal calls a son of Sabakon (Sabaku). He set out to restore the dominion of Ethiopia over Egypt; he won Thebes, defeated the Assyrian troops before Memphis, shut up the defeated army in Memphis, and took them prisoners. "A messenger went in haste to Nineveh" to bring to the king the intelligence of these grievous disasters.[360]

Assurbanipal set out for Egypt in person, to make good the blow which the arms of Assyria had received, to restore the prestige and dread of his power. When he had crossed the borders of Egypt, Urdamane left Memphis in order to return to Thebes. "The[Pg 164] princes and viceroys whom I had placed over Egypt, came before my face and kissed my feet," so Assurbanipal tells us. "I pursued Urdamane and came to Thebes; he fled at the approach of my mighty army. I took the city of Thebes; silver, gold, precious stones, the treasures of the palace, men and women, two great obelisks, which stood before the gates of the temple, engraved with beautiful sculptures; a great and innumerable booty I carried away from Thebes (Niha) to Assyria. I made my warriors march over Egypt and Cush, and won glory."[361] "No-Ammon (Thebes) was situate among the rivers,"—so the prophet Nahum describes the capture and desolation of Thebes by Assurbanipal and the Assyrians,—"with waters round about her, whose rampart was the stream, and her walls the stream. Ethiopia (Cush) mighty in numbers, and Egyptians endless in multitude, Phut (Arabians) and Libyans (Lubim) were her helpers. Yet she went forth into misery and captivity; her children were dashed to pieces at the tops of all the streets. They cast lots for her honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains."[362]

The repeated attempts of Tirhaka and his successor to re-establish the government over Egypt from Napata were wrecked. After the capture and sack of Thebes, which we can place in the year 663 B.C.,[363] Assurbanipal sought further to secure the obedience of Egypt by settlers, whom he brought there from conquered lands.[364][Pg 165] From that time, for at least ten years, Egypt remained in his possession without any disturbance. But in spite of this establishment of the Assyrian dominion in Egypt Assurbanipal had again, in the next few years, to quell rebellions in Syria. Tyre and Aradus attempted to regain their independence, an attempt at defection, which could now have even a less chance of success than when Egypt stood unbroken under the Ethiopians. Baal, king of Tyre, who had already rebelled against Esarhaddon, and was afterwards pardoned and restored, who subsequently paid his tribute with all[Pg 166] obedience, now took up arms anew, ten years after his first rebellion. Assurbanipal's third war was directed against Tyre and Aradus. He tells us that the fortresses of king Baal were taken, that he cut off all exit from Tyre, and compelled the inhabitants to drink the water of the sea, that he brought about their submission by a close investment. When Baal had given up his son, his daughters, and the daughters of his brothers, with a considerable tribute, he was again replaced in his dominion.[365] The king of Arvad, also Yakinlu, "who dwelt in the sea" (the city of Arvad lay on an island off the coast, II. 277), was compelled to submit; he sent his daughter with many presents to Nineveh for the harem of the king, and kissed Assurbanipal's feet; after his death the government of Arvad was entrusted to Azibaal, a son of Yakinlu.

Assurbanipal's power and supremacy reached far to the west beyond Syria. He tells us that Mugallu, the king of the Tibarenes, and Sandasarmi of Cilicia, who had not obeyed his predecessors, sent their daughters to Nineveh, and kissed his feet. Gyges (Gugu) also, the king of Lydia, "a land, the name of which my father had not heard," says Assurbanipal, sent a message to Nineveh. Gyges had obtained the throne of Lydia by violence; he was opposed by a strong party who adhered to the old royal family which he had overthrown; and it was not in domestic matters only that he found himself in difficulties. The Cimmerians who had invaded Asia Minor and were settled there on the lower Halys, who, as Esarhaddon told us, recognised his supremacy (p. 151), had forced their way from thence to Phrygia and Lydia. Gyges obviously sought support in Assyria, the strong neighbour of the Cimmerians, as soon as and as long as[Pg 167] Tubal and Cilicia obeyed the king of Asshur. The inscriptions of Assurbanipal tell us that Gyges promised obedience to him and brought tribute.[366] Thus the supremacy of Assyria reached the west of Asia Minor, the coasts of the Ægean Sea (about 660 B.C.).

The next campaigns of the king were directed to the north. Achsheri, king of Minni, had kept back his tribute. The Assyrians traversed and desolated his land in two successive invasions; Achsheri's own subjects rose against him, and slew him; his son Ualli submitted, sent his daughter to Nineveh, and paid the tribute which had been kept back, and which Assurbanipal increased by 30 horses.[367] Sarduri, king of the neighbouring Ararat (Urarti), sent rich presents, and acknowledged the supremacy of Assyria. The rebellion of Birizchadri, a chief of the Medes, and of the two sons of Gagi, a chief of the Sacae (Sachi), Sariti and Pariza was defeated; 75 fortified places were taken; the three rebels were taken prisoners and carried to Nineveh.[368]

Assurbanipal bestowed especial attention on Babylonia, the government of which he had entrusted to his younger brother Samul-sum-ukin (Samuges in Abydenus, Saosduchinus in the canon of Ptolemy).[369] He tells us that here also he had continued the building of the temples which his father had begun, that he built at Bit Saggatu at Babel, and erected four silver bulls at the gate of the temple of Bit Zida at Borsippa, that he had adorned the abodes of Bel and Bilit. A brick found at Babylon bears the inscription, "to the god Merodach, my lord, Assurbanipal, king[Pg 168] of Assyria, king of Babylon."[370] When Urtaki, king of Elam (he had succeeded his brother Ummanaldas I. on the throne there), invaded Babylonia, Samul-sum-ukin called on his brother for assistance; the Elamites were already encamped before the walls of Babylon.[371] "To protect Bel and Nebo, my gods, whom I served," says Assurbanipal, "I gathered together my warriors." The Elamites were driven back to their borders. Not long after this failure Urtaki, king of Elam, died, and the third brother of Ummanaldas and Urtaki, Teumman, ascended the throne. The sons of the two elder brothers, the sons of Ummanaldas, and the sons of Urtaki (the latter were called Ummanigas and Tammaritu) were afraid that Teumman would cause them to be removed out of his way, in order to secure the succession for his own sons, and fled to Assyria.[372] Teumman demanded that they should be given up. Assurbanipal refused; and when in consequence Teumman declared war and invaded Assyria, Assurbanipal sacrificed to the war-goddess Istar at her abode in Arbela, "the city of the joy of her heart," and prayed: "O thou goddess of goddesses, dreadful in battle, goddess of war, queen of the gods, rejoice the heart of Asshur; strike down Teumman and destroy him. And the goddess heard my prayer and said: Fear not; I will grant thee favour." But in that night Istar appeared in a dream to the seer, with her bow in her hand, and announced that the enemy would not remain; in the midst of the battle she would protect the king of Asshur.[373] Assurbanipal went against Elam in his fifth war, which he led in person. Teumman retired before the[Pg 169] Assyrians, and awaited the attack of their army in a position at Eulæus (Ulai), in the neighbourhood of Susa. The Assyrians, and with them the sons of Urtaki, Ummanigas and Tammaritu, fought with success. Teumman, wounded in the battle, fled with his eldest son; the chariot broke down in the forest; they were taken and slain. Assurbanipal placed Ummanigas on the throne of Susa. A relief in the palace of Assurbanipal depicts the enthronement of Ummanigas at Madaktu and Susa by an Assyrian officer.[374] Chidalu, a part of Elam, which hitherto had been ruled over by Istar-Nandi—the East of Elam apparently—was handed over to Tammaritu. Teumman's head was seen at the entrance of Assurbanipal into Nineveh: it was placed on the great gate of that city (about 655 B.C.).[375]

Assurbanipal had carried off one success upon another; he was master of Egypt, received tribute from Lydia, and placed kings over Elam at his pleasure, when the rebellion of his brother Samul-sum-ukin in Babylon threatened to overthrow the foundations of the kingdom. Eager to reign independently, Samul-sum-ukin opened the treasures of the temples of Bel at Babylon, of Nebo at Borsippa, of Nergal at Kutha, and sent rich presents to Ummanigas, whom Assurbanipal had raised to the throne of Elam not long before, in order to incite him to take up arms against Assyria and to secure the aid of Elam. Ummanigas took his side.[376] Samul-sum-ukin also called on the districts on the Euphrates and Tigris to join him. In vain did the prefects of Erech, Amida, and Arapha attempt to check the rebellion. The children[Pg 170] of Babylon forgot the favour shown to them, says Assurbanipal, the temples which he had restored and adorned with silver and gold; the inhabitants of Sippara, Babylon, Borsippa, Kutha disregarded their brotherhood, and took up arms against him. The signal given by the king's own brother was followed by the Arabians, Syrians, and Lydians. "That faithless brother, Samul-sum-ukin, led astray the inhabitants of Accad, of Chaldæa, of Aram, and of the sea coast, my tributary subjects, to rebel against me. The princes (sarri) of the land of Guti, of the land of the West (mat acharri), of Miluhhi, which my hands brought into submission, all these he seduced to fall from me, they took his side:" such is the statement of Assurbanipal.[377]

This rising was all the more dangerous, as some of the vassal-princes of Egypt thought it a favourable moment for throwing off the yoke of Assyria. The son of the Necho, whom in spite of his conspiracy with Tirhaka Assurbanipal had a second time made prince of Sais, Neboshezban, who was then ruler of the canton of Athribis, and after the death of his father Necho, which occurred in the mean time (Necho died shortly before, or in, the year 664 B.C.),[378] succeeded him as prince of Sais, was at the head of this movement. Assurbanipal tells us that Gyges of Lydia sent aid to Pisamilki, the prince (Sar) of Muzur, who had cast off the yoke of his rule.[379] In[Pg 171] this Pisamilki we may recognise the Psammetichus of the Greeks, the Psamtik of the Egyptians, the son of Necho of Sais, the same person whom Assurbanipal, when he mentions the restoration of Necho and his son, calls by the Assyrian name of Neboshezban.[Pg 172] When the failure of that attempt had made Necho and his son captives of Assyria, the important point was to give pledges to the king of Assyria that the fidelity of his vassals would not again be broken. The Egyptian tradition of the rise of Psammetichus, preserved for us by Herodotus and Diodorus, ought not to have more weight than that Assyrian name against the identity of Pisamilki and Psammetichus. That tradition knows of nothing but contests of Psammetichus with his fellow-princes, not with the Assyrians; like Manetho's list of kings, it is absolutely silent about the Assyrians, because it wishes to conceal the fact that the Assyrians ever had dominion over Egypt. The tradition of Egypt imagines a voluntary retirement of the king of Ethiopia, or his abdication of the government of Egypt, and then represents the Egyptians as setting up 12 princes in the place of one: we have already seen that 20 were set up by Esarhaddon, and retained by Assurbanipal. Manetho's list says nothing either of the Assyrian dominion, or of the twelve; in it the rule of the last Ethiopian is followed by the dynasty of the Saites, two forefathers of Necho, and then by Necho and Psammetichus. The sepulchres of the Apis show, that as a fact, the dates were differently fixed in the seventh century B.C. in Egypt. Even then the kings of Assyria were disregarded; the reign of the Ethiopian Tirhaka is followed immediately by the reign of Psammetichus. The struggles which Psammetichus had to undergo with his fellow-princes, of which Herodotus, Diodorus, and Strabo tell us, were, as a fact, contests with those among the princes who adhered to Assyria, who would not follow the lead of Psammetichus against Assyria, and submit to his rule over Egypt.

The rebellion of Samul-sum-ukin appeared to tear[Pg 173] from its lines the whole structure of the Assyrian supremacy. But Assurbanipal knew how to cope with serious danger: deep-seated confusion in Elam made his task easier. Thus he succeeded in this sixth war in driving his brother's army out of the field. He besieged Sippara and Kutha. Against Ummanigas of Elam, who, though placed there by Assurbanipal himself, was now an ally of Samul-sum-ukin, his own son Tammaritu rose in rebellion. He slew his father, but persisted in the war against Assyria, which his father had begun. He marched out to aid Samul-sum-ukin; in the middle of the war Indabigas, one of his servants, rebelled against him; Tammaritu found it necessary to seek the protection of his enemy Assurbanipal. Thus Samul-sum-ukin's hope in the help of Elam vanished. After Sippara, Kutha, and Borsippa had fallen, Babylon was shut up. The famine in the city was so great that "they ate the flesh of their sons and their daughters," as Assurbanipal tells us. Of the death of his brother he tells us: Asshur, Sin, Samas, Bin, Bel, Nebo, and Istar thrust him into burning fire, and destroyed his life. Assurbanipal's punishments were fearful. He had the tongues torn out of those who spoke against him; even those of the offenders who escaped the famine and the burning fire, did not get away free; they were slain or reduced to slavery. But he spared the remainder of the sons of Babylon, Kutha, and Sippara. On the people of Accad, on the portion of the Chaldæans and Aramæans, and those of the sea coast who had taken the side of Samul-sum-ukin, he again placed the yoke of Asshur. A relief of the palace of Assurbanipal exhibits him on the chariot of war, with prisoners and booty before him. The inscription says: the king commands the coronation robe of Samul[Pg 174]sum-ukin, his garments, his wives, his chariots, his captains, his warriors, and his slaves to be brought before him.[380]

After thus suppressing the rising of the Babylonians, Assurbanipal directed the whole of his forces to the subjugation of Elam. The domestic condition of Elam seemed to promise success to a vigorous attack. Indabigas experienced the fate which he had prepared for Tammaritu; he was driven from the throne by a man of the name of Ummanaldas, the son of Attamitu.[381] This rebel did not find universal recognition; Pache maintained a part of the land against him. Under such circumstances the victory could not be very difficult. Assurbanipal sent troops under Balibni against the land of Bit Yakin, which was governed by Nabubelzikri, a grandson of Merodach Baladan, as a tributary prince (perhaps the son of Nahid-Merodach, p. 147), who appears to have taken part in the rebellion of Samul-sum-ukin, and then to have escaped to Elam. Assurbanipal had already demanded his surrender from Indabigas, and he repeated the demand after the rise of Ummanaldas, who also refused it. The Assyrian army led by Assurbanipal to his seventh war crossed the borders of Elam. Ummanaldas abandoned his metropolis, Madaktu, and fled into the mountains. Assurbanipal placed Tammaritu on the throne at Susa, but soon returned, either from fear of his disobedience or because he had heard of it, to Elam, dethroned Tammaritu, and carried him prisoner to Assyria; marched through the whole land, devastating it, and took 30 cities, which are enumerated in the inscription. Nevertheless, after his departure, Ummanaldas again obtained[Pg 175] power over Elam; Assurbanipal was compelled to march against the country once more. This was his eighth war. He obtained the most complete success; Madaktu and Susa fell into his hand. "I opened their treasure-houses," says Assurbanipal; "I took the treasures, which the earlier kings of Elam and those of these days had collected. No enemy beside myself had laid hands upon them. The silver and gold which the earlier and later kings of Sumir and Accad, and of Kardunias, had sent to Elam, which earlier kings and Samul-sum-ukin had paid for the help of Elam; robes, arms, chariots, I carried to Assyria. I broke down the tower of Susa; Susinak, the god of their oracle, whose image no man had seen, and the remaining gods (eighteen gods and goddesses are mentioned) with their treasures, priests, and servants, I carried to Assyria. Thirty-two images of the kings in silver, gold, brass, and stone, I carried away from Susa, Madaktu, and Huradi, and in addition an image of Humbanigas (p. 99), of Istar-Nandi, of Halludus (p. 144), and the younger Tammaritu. I broke the winged lions and bulls, which guarded the temples, the winged bulls before the temple gates of Elam, and sent their gods and goddesses into captivity: I destroyed the palaces of their kings, the earlier and the later, the opponents of my father; the rulers and inhabitants of their cities, the people great and small, I carried away with their flocks; their warriors I divided throughout the land of my kingdom (645 B.C.)[382]"

In spite of this savage destruction, Ummanaldas could return from the mountains, and again take possession of the ruins of Madaktu. He was now, as[Pg 176] it appears, prepared to accede to Assurbanipal's renewed request to give up the grandson of Merodach Baladan. The latter anticipated his surrender, inasmuch as he and his armour-bearer mutually slew each other. Ummanaldas gave up the corpse, and Assurbanipal had the head cut off. Thus died the last scion of Merodach Baladan of whom we hear: so ended the race which for 80 years, with incredible endurance and stubbornness, had asserted the independence of South Chaldæa and Babylonia against Assyria. After this Ummanaldas had to give way to Pache, who received a part of Elam. But Pache could not stand before the Assyrian army, or did not venture to resist it. He was taken prisoner; Ummanaldas also was captured, "like a raven," in the mountains, into which he had fled for refuge. "Tammaritu, Pache, and Ummanaldas, who ruled over Elam in succession, I brought them beneath my yoke, with Uaiti, the king of the Arabs, whom I brought out of his land to Assyria. I had them bound to the yoke of my war-chariot; they drew it to the gate of the temple of Bilit, the famed wife of Asshur, the mother of the great gods."[383]

Ancient Elam, the oldest power in the region of the Euphrates and Tigris, and in all hither Asia, which once, before the times of Hammurabi of Babylon, before the year 2000 B.C., had held sway over the states of the lower Euphrates, whose armies in those days had seen Syria, was fallen, never to rise again. "In the midst of hell," says the prophet Ezekiel, "is Elam, and all her multitude about her grave; all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which are gone down uncircumcised into the nether parts[Pg 177] of the earth. They who caused terror in the land of the living have borne their share with them that go down to the pit. They have set her a bed in the midst of the slain with all her multitude; they are placed among the slain."[384] It is true that, more than a century after the fall of Susa, we hear of stubborn attempts on the part of Elam to restore her state; but after that Elam ceased to exist, except as a name, and her history was then the more utterly forgotten, because after this rebellion the metropolis of Susa became the residence of the wide dominion of the kings of another people, the Achæmenids.

Babylonia was in subjection, and Elam had ceased to exist. Assurbanipal employed his arms in punishing the Arabian tribes who had supported the rebellion of his brother. Ammuladin, the king of the Kedarites, had attacked the princes of Syria who remained loyal to Assurbanipal. The attack failed. Ammuladin was defeated, and taken prisoner by Kamoshalta, the king of Moab; with him Adiya, a princess of the Arabians, was given up to Assurbanipal.[385] Two other princes of the Arabs, the brothers Abiyateh and Aimu, had led their warriors to Babylon, to Samul-sum-ukin. They had been there defeated together with him and shut up in Babylon. When the famine was sore there, they attempted in vain to break through the siege; Abiyateh gave himself up to Assurbanipal. With them the soldiers of a third Arabian prince, Uaiti, had marched to Babylon. Assurbanipal now attacked Uaiti, whose tribes dwelt on the borders of Ammon, Moab and Edom, in Hauran and near Zoba; their dwellings and tents were burnt. Uaiti was carried prisoner to Nineveh, and[Pg 178] Abiyateh was set up in his place. Scarcely had he been set up, when he united with Nadnu, the prince of the Nebaiyoth, against Assyria. On his ninth campaign, Assurbanipal marched over the Tigris and Euphrates into the deserts of Syria. As he tells us, he defeated the servants of the deity of Atar-Samain and the Nebaiyoth, took both princes prisoners in the battle, and caused their flocks to be driven off far and wide. "I divided camels like sheep," he says; "they fetched half a shekel of silver at the gate. On my return I took Hosah, which lies on the shore of the sea, which was disobedient, and did not pay tribute, and carried the people to Assyria. The people of Akko, who did not obey, I destroyed; the remnant I carried to Assyria."[386]

Not only the Arabian tribes between the Euphrates and the Jordan, not only the princes of Syria, but the land of Ararat also, as Assurbanipal expressly declares,[387] and Cilicia and the East of Asia were subject. This follows, without a doubt, from the circumstance that Ardys, king of Lydia, who succeeded his father Gyges on the throne in the year 653B.C., soon after recognised anew the supremacy of Assurbanipal, in order to obtain his aid against the Cimmerians, who again heavily oppressed Lydia from the Halys. Assurbanipal had not only maintained the kingdom against the revolt of Samul-sum-ukin, he had strengthened it by the overthrow of Elam, established the supremacy of Assyria in Hither Asia, and extended it to the west of Asia Minor. We do not hear anything of an attempt to renew the vassalage of Egypt, though the war against the Nabatæans and Kedarites brought Assurbanipal to the borders of Egypt. We may suppose that the[Pg 179] resistance of the regions of Akko and Hosah (to the south of Tyre[388]) possibly rested on the expectation of Egyptian assistance. But the inscriptions of Assurbanipal end with the war against the Arabians; beyond this we have no accounts of Assyrian origin. The struggles of Assurbanipal with the Nebaiyoth and the Kedarites on the borders of Ammon and Moab, the reduction of Akko, are the last acts of the Assyrians in Syria, of which we have any definite information. They must have taken place not long before the year 640 B.C. It will be seen further on that Assurbanipal after this time was engaged in the East.

The Hebrew Scriptures also know nothing of any interference of Assyria in the fortunes of their race after the reign of Manasses of Judah, which ended in the year 642 B.C. A statement of Herodotus, which is indeed very obscure, makes it possible to conclude that there was a later border war between Assyria and Egypt. He says: "Psammetichus besieged Ashdod (Azotus), a large city of Syria, for 29 years, till he took it." "This city," Herodotus adds, "endured the longest siege of any that we know."[389] Psammetichus could not besiege the Philistine city of Ashdod, until the southern fortresses of the Philistines, Raphia, Gaza and Ascalon were in his hands. His object in the attack upon these cities could only be to render the march of the Assyrian armies to his land more difficult. These armies would have to collect in the south of Philistia, and provide themselves with stores, especially water, before they could begin the march through the desert. In the beginning of this war, at any rate, it could not have been merely the forces of the Philistines which Psammetichus had to contend[Pg 180] with here; there must have been Assyrian garrisons and Assyrian troops in the cities. Diodorus also tells us of the mode in which Psammetichus drew out his forces in the battles which he fought in Syria.[390] That the siege of a city should last 29 years is in itself inconceivable; we can only accept the statement of Herodotus as meaning that the war for the possession of the cities of the Philistines on the coast lasted 29 years. If we calculate this time from the irruption of the Scythians into Syria, which in any case put an end to this war, i. e. from the year 625 B.C., Psammetichus rebelled against Assyria in the year 654 or 653 B.C., and immediately afterwards desired to establish himself on the borders of Syria beyond the desert. If Assurbanipal was fighting against Arabian tribes, on the borders of Edom, just before the year 640 B.C., and took Akko, the narrative of this campaign ought also to speak of a collision with the Egyptian army, if Psammetichus was carrying on war against Ashdod as early as this date. We saw above that Psammetichus's rebellion against Assyria in Egypt could not take place later than the year 653 B.C.

Assurbanipal begins the account of his buildings with a statement of what he had done for the temples of Babylon;[391] he concludes it with a description of his works at Nineveh. The walls with which Sennacherib had surrounded that city had been injured by heavy falls of rain which Bin sent down. Assurbanipal strengthened the substructure, and restored them from the foundations to the pinnacles.[392] He restored, extended, and adorned the palace of his grandfather Sennacherib, in which he had grown up:[Pg 181] the kings of the Arabians whom he had captured in battle had been compelled to work at them. Whoever destroys the inscription of his name, or the name of his father and grandfather, and does not set it up along with the inscription of his own name, him will Asshur and the rest of the gods, Sin, Samas, Bin, Bel, Nebo, Adar, and Nergal punish with the condemnation which will correspond to the glory of his (Assurbanipal's) name.[393] In the ruins of this palace, the ruins of Kuyundshik, a number of slabs with reliefs have been preserved, exhibiting the warlike achievements of Assurbanipal, with which he caused the halls of this building to be adorned. On them we see the envoys of the kings of Ararat paying homage to Assurbanipal. Urtaki, Teumman, and Tammaritu are seen in battle against the Assyrians; we see the head of Teumman of Elam brought to Assyria, and Ummanigas is enthroned at Madaktu by an Assyrian officer, (p. 169). Further, a relief shows us Assurbanipal sitting under some trees with some women; on one of the trees hangs the head of the descendant of Merodach Baladan, Nabubelzikri.[394] Finally, we find on these reliefs the cities of Elam, the city of Susa, and their sieges. The inscriptions give the names, and briefly explain the incidents depicted.


[355] G. Smith, "Assyr. Canon," p. 164.

[356] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 320. E. Schrader, "K. A. T." s. 208. The astronomical canon makes Esarhaddon's reign in Babylon end with the year 668 B.C.

[357] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 324.

[358] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 322.

[359] Assurbanipal, it is true, says that he has conquered Muzur and Cush (G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 324), which is certainly an exaggeration unless Upper Egypt is meant by Cush.

[360] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 328.

[361] G. Smith, loc. cit. pp. 328, 329.

[362] Nahum iii. 8-10.

[363] The Apis-pillar from the twenty-first year of Psammetichus proves that the Egyptians put him immediately after Tirhaka. As they make the reign of Psammetichus commence with the year 664 B.C. the death of Tirhaka must fall in this year, and the war of Urdamane in the next.

[364] Inhabitants of Karbit, in the land of Halahasta, were brought here; compare Cyl. B. in Ménant, "Ann." p. 291. If the king of the memorial stone of the ruins of the temple of Ammon at Napata, whose name is read with much uncertainty as Nuat-Mi (amun), or Amun-merinut, or Tonuat-amen, is not one and the same person with the Urdamane or Undamane (Unt-amen?) of Assurbanipal, it is very difficult to explain who he is. If the name of the person making dedications beside Tirhaka at Karnak is the same which the monument gives (Mariette, "Monum. divers." pl. 80, sqq.), this would be an important factor for the identification with Urdamane, which is also supported by the fact that Piker of Pasupti is prominent among the opponents of this Ethiopian: Pakruru of Pisaptu has been previously mentioned by Assurbanipal. The narrative of the memorial stone would then be the counterpart of the Assyrian account; the only striking thing in the narrative of the Ethiopian king is that the victory of Memphis is mentioned, but not the capture of the Assyrians. He ought also, it is true, to have mentioned the retreat forced upon him by the Assyrians. The narrative runs: In the year when he came to the throne Nuat-amon saw two serpents in a dream, and when he asked the interpretation of the dream, it was announced to him: "he possessed the south, he should conquer the north." He set out, and when he arrived at Thebes the prophet of the temple of Ammon-Ra met him with the astrologers, and the inhabitants who were at first hostile to him were filled with joy. But when Nuat-amon approached Memphis, the sons of the rebellion marched against him, in order to do battle: he inflicted on them a great defeat, and made himself master of the city of Memphis. From Memphis he marched out, in order to do battle with the chiefs of the land of the North, but they remained in their walls. When their cities were besieged, they appeared before Nuat-amon lying on their bellies, with their faces on the ground, and Piker the chief of Pasupti said: "Thou slayest whom thou wilt, and thou givest life to whom thou wilt, and all vow to be thy servants." The heart of Nuat-amon was full of joy when he heard these words. They turned back into their cities and sent all the good things of the North and the South to the lord of Upper and Lower Egypt. Maspero, "Essai sur la stèle du songe." Rev. Archéol. 1868, 17, 329 ff.

[365] G. Smith, "Assurbanipal," p. 62, 63.

[366] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 74, 75.

[367] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 95 ff.

[368] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 115, 96, 97.

[369] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 151.

[370] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 380.

[371] G. Smith, "Assurb." p. 103. Ménant, "Annal." p. 282.

[372] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 107, 117.

[373] Cylinder B., in G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 120 ff.

[374] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 140, 146. Ménant, "Annal." p. 286.

[375] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 133, 155, 142-145.

[376] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 171.

[377] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 154, 155, 169, 201. "Disc." p. 338.

[378] Above, p. 163. It is certain that Psammetichus's reign ends in the year 610 B.C.; Boeckh, "Manetho," Zeitschr. "für Geschich.," s. 716 ff., Unger, "Manetho," s. 280. Herodotus and Manetho allot 54 years to the reign of Psammetichus, and an Apis-pillar tells us that a new Apis was installed in the month Athyr of the 54th year of the reign of Psammetichus. Necho therefore died before, or in the year 664 B.C. (610 + 54).

[379] G. Smith, "Assurb." p. 66; "Disc." p. 332. In the computation of Herodotus, the accession of Gyges of Lydia takes place in 719 or 716, according as the fall of Sardis is put in 549 or 546 B.C.; his death takes place in 681 or 678 B.C. In the canon of Eusebius, on the same data, he is computed to have ascended the throne in 699 or 696, and to have reigned till 663 or 660. In the list of Lydian kings (Euseb. "Chron." I, p. 69, ed. Schöne), he ascended, on the same data, in 689 or 686, and reigned to 653 or 650 B.C. The latter dates must be accepted if Gyges sent help to Psammetichus. Samul-sum-ukin would not have found it necessary to invite the prince or princes of Miluhhi to rebellion, if Egypt had revolted from Assyria before his rebellion—Miluhhi must then be used on the cylinder in a wider sense for Egypt and Meroe—and Gyges could not send any help to Psammetichus, if he was not king himself. We are not in a position to fix accurately the date of the rebellion of Samul-sum-ukin, since the list of the Assyrian rulers breaks off with the year 665 B.C. The fact that it is the sixth war of Assurbanipal in which he marches against his brother—I enumerate the wars according to Cylinder A—only proves that the war cannot have taken place before 660 B.C. In the astronomical canon the reign of Saosduchinus ends with the year 648 B.C.; and we may therefore assume with certainty that the overthrow of Samul-sum-ukin took place in this year. How long before this Samul-sum-ukin took up arms, we do not know; he may very well have done so in the year 652 B.C. For the rebellion was not brought to a close till after a long siege of Babylon: or the rebellion may have commenced even earlier, so that Gyges could undoubtedly have sent help to Psammetichus in the last years of his reign. The cylinders, which narrate the history of the wars of Assurbanipal, date from the year of Samasdainani, who in Cylinder A is called viceroy of Accad, and on the others viceroy of Babel. We are not in a position to fix definitely the place of this year. A tablet of Erech bears the date of 20 Nisan of the twentieth year of Assurbanipal in Babel (Ménant, "Annal." p. 29 ff.). As Assurbanipal must have dated his rule in Babylon from the overthrow of Samul-sum-ukin, and Assurbanipal himself died in the year 626 B.C., Samul-sum-ukin's death must have taken place at least before 646 B.C. On the cylinders and on the reliefs in his palace at Nineveh, Assurbanipal merely calls himself king of Asshur. If in the documents relating to his buildings in Babylon as well as on the Babylonian brick already mentioned he calls himself king of Babel, it follows that these inscriptions belong to the period after the war with his brother. G. Smith, "Disc." p. 378, 380.

[380] G. Smith, "Assurb." p. 199; Ménant, loc. cit. p. 288.

[381] Ménant, loc. cit. p. 293; G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 165-168, 181.

[382] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 349 ff. If Babylon fell in the sixth war, 648B.C., the destruction of Susa at the end of the eighth war cannot have taken place earlier than in the year 645 B.C.

[383] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 371; "Assurb." p. 237, 241, 243, 304, 306; Ménant, loc. cit. p. 291.

[384] Ezekiel xxxii. 24.

[385] G. Smith, "Assurb." p. 299; "Assyr. Canon," p. 148.

[386] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 370.

[387] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 370.

[388] Joshua xix. 29.

[389] Herod. 2, 157.

[390] Diod. 1, 67.

[391] Beginning of Cylinder C. in G. Smith, "Disc." p. 377.

[392] Above, p. 108. G. Smith, "Assurb." p. 308.

[393] End of Cylinder A. in G. Smith, "Disc." p. 372 ff.

[394] Place, "Ninive." Pl. 57.



[Pg 182]



"Asshur was a cedar in Lebanon," so the prophet Ezekiel tells us; "a shadowing thicket, and of a tall stature, with fair branches, and his top was among the thick boughs. The waters made him great, the flood set him up on high; with her stream she went round about his plants, and sent her conduits unto all the trees of the field. Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were great, and his branches became strong because of the multitude of waters, and spread themselves out. All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations. Then was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches. The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him; the cypresses were not like his boughs, and the planes were not like his branches. No tree in the garden of God was like to him in beauty. I (Jehovah) have made him fair by the multitude of his branches, and all the trees of Eden envied him."[395]

Babylon and Asshur are two stems springing out of the same root. The younger could borrow from the[Pg 183] elder her religion, her ritual, her models in art and industry, and finally her writing; and along with this those scientific acquisitions, by no means contemptible, which had been made on the Euphrates. The peculiar characteristic of the younger branch rests on its warlike power, which (nurtured in those long struggles in the Zagrus and in the Armenian mountains) at last far exceeded the power of the Babylonians.

There is no state in the ancient East, which, beginning from a reign so small in proportion, and provided with such scanty material means, rose so high as Assyria—which from such a basis attained to a wider supremacy, or maintained it so long and so vigorously. By slow and laborious steps this kingdom worked its way upward in frequent and severe conflicts beside Babylonia. To reduce and keep in obedience the region round the sources of the Euphrates and the Tigris, the land of Van and Ararat, to subjugate the territory of the Moschi and Tibarenes, required the most severe struggles. The attempt of Tiglath Pilesar I. to reach the North of Syria and the Mediterranean was a success, yet it remained without any lasting results. Not till the beginning of the ninth centuryB.C. does the dominion of Assyria obtain more important dimensions, not in the North only, but also in the West and East. Assurnasirpal reached Mount Amanus, the Orontes, Mount Lebanon; he received the tribute of the Phenician cities. Shalmanesar II. directed his most vigorous efforts against Hamath and Damascus, while at the same time he reduced the Cilicians, as well as the nations of the Western table land of Iran, to pay tribute. At the division of the ninth and eighth centuries B.C. Bin-nirar III. held sway from the shore of the Red[Pg 184] Sea over Edom, on the shore of the Mediterranean over the Philistines and Israel, in the East over Mount Zagrus and the Medes. Then after the middle of the eighth century Tiglath Pilesar II. forced his way as far as Arachosia, and at the least maintained his dominion over the tribes of the Medes; in the West he humbled Hamath, Damascus, Samaria; Judah paid homage with the Philistines and all the princes of Syria with the distant tribes of the Arabians, to the great king of Asshur. He first completely subjugated Babylonia, and forced even Southern Chaldæa to recognise his supremacy. Sargon, after him, maintained Syria even against the arms of Egypt, and added the crown of Babylon to the crown of Asshur: Cyprus as well as the islands of the Persian Gulf pay homage to him. Sennacherib maintains the dominion over Babylonia against the most stubborn rebellions, as well as against the Elamites, and also the supremacy over Media; and if he was not able to maintain Syria against Egypt, he still retained the upper hand in the eastern half of Asia Minor. Esarhaddon ruled over Asshur and Babel; he restored the dominion over Syria; he conquered Egypt. The armies of his successor not only march victoriously into the gates of Memphis, Thebes, and Babylon, but even into the gates of Susa. In repeated campaigns he annihilates the ancient kingdom of Elam, and receives from the West the homage of Lydia.

No other kingdom can display so long a series of warlike and active princes, unwearied in conflict, as Assyria. They believed that they were fighting not for dominion only, or glory, but also for their gods, for Asshur, Sin and Samas, for Istar, Bin and Adar, against the nations who did not worship these deities. It is this extraordinary activity of the[Pg 185] princes which alone explains the long continuance, and the constantly increasing extent, of the Assyrian power. For great as is the activity and unwearied perseverance of these princes, there is an equal lack of capability to create any organisation of their dominion and sovereignty which could secure even approximately the dependence of the subject nations. They take the field, defeat the enemy, and rest content if he pays homage and tribute, if the image of the victorious king of Asshur is engraved on the rocks of the conquered land, or set up in the city of the enemy. Ere long, if the tribute fails, war must be again commenced. The enemy is removed from the government, another prince is set on the throne of the subjugated land; the same game is commenced once more, as soon as there is the least prospect of shaking off the yoke. Owing to the stubbornness, more especially of the Semitic tribes and the mountaineers in the North, the kings of Asshur are condemned to constant campaigns. The defections are punished with savage devastation of the land and destruction of the cities. The rebellious princes and their leading adherents are often put to death with exquisite cruelty; they are flayed, or beheaded, or impaled, and yet such terrorism produces no visible effects. On the other hand, if they submit, they are often pardoned; they are again recognised or set up as princes over their lands, in some cases even after repeated defection. Occasionally, in order to maintain independently the Assyrian supremacy, Assyrian fortresses are planted in the conquered districts; as at the crossings over the Euphrates, in the region of the Medes, on the borders of Elam, and in Syria. For the most part it is only over the smaller districts that Assyrian viceroys were placed. Native kings, chiefs,[Pg 186] and princes remain on the throne in the more extensive lands, and over the greater nations, as in the cities and principalities of Syria. Sometimes an attempt is made to secure the submission of princes by alliance with the royal house of Assyria. Over Babylonia alone were sons and brothers of the king repeatedly placed, and not always with a happy result. If Esarhaddon, instead of transferring the government of Egypt, under his supremacy, to one prince, divides it among 20, this organisation was not an Assyrian invention; in all essentials it was a transference of the lords of the districts from vassalage to the king of Napata to vassalage to the king of Assyria. The chief means of the kings of Assyria for securing the obedience of the vanquished for the future consisted at all times in carrying away and transplanting parts of the conquered population. The nationalities of Hither Asia, as far as the table-land of Iran, underwent considerable intermixture in consequence of this system, but this means could only work thoroughly in the smaller regions and communities—for the kingdom of Israel, for Hamath, and the Arabian tribes.

In such a defective organisation of the empire, while limited to such elementary, and at the same time such unproductive, means, it would be more interesting to find an answer to the question, how the kings of Assyria were able to keep their own nation willing to undertake these endless wars; how from their native land, of no great extent, they could obtain the men and the means for such burdensome efforts—and in any crisis this was the only power they could rely upon—how the authority of the crown could be maintained in spite of such heavy requisitions on their subjects;—did our knowledge allow us to[Pg 187] give even an approximate explanation. An hereditary succession, interrupted far less than is usual elsewhere in the East, appears to have rendered these tasks easier to the kings of Asshur, to have been favourable to the continuance of the kingdom, and to have assisted the rulers in extending their supremacy. Tiglath Pilesar I. mentions four of his ancestors in unbroken succession on the throne (II. 36). The kings always describe themselves as sons and grandsons of preceding rulers. Down to the time of Sargon we hear nothing of the murder of kings, and only of one attempt at rebellion on the part of a king's son. With Sargon a new dynasty seems to have ascended the throne: he neither calls himself a son of his predecessor (Shalmanesar IV.), nor does he mention any other of the earlier rulers as his progenitor. But his race, in its turn, seems to have held the throne till the fall of the kingdom, though he and his son Sennacherib fell by assassination, though Esarhaddon only acquired the throne after a conflict with the two brothers who had slain their father, and Assurbanipal had to defend it against the rebellion of a brother. That the power exercised by the kings of Assyria was unlimited even in their own territory is beyond a doubt. The king is the supreme judge, the general in chief, the high-priest. He ascertains the will of the gods, who reveal themselves to him, who send him dreams, assure him of their assistance. It is the gods, their lords, who overthrow the enemy and the rebellious princes before them. The kings offer sacrifice and pour libations in person, not the priests. In his palace at Kuyundshik (p. 181) Sennacherib pours a drink-offering over four lions which he has slain in hunting, and which lie before the altar. Other monuments exhibit the king, with a bowl in his hand containing gifts for the gods,[Pg 188] or holding up a pine-apple. At the sacrifices the king wears a peculiar priestly robe: small pictures of the sun and moon, with a horned cap, a pitcher, and a two-pronged fork, hang from his neck: in his hand he has a short staff. The priests serve at his side; behind the form of the king on the monuments stand winged spirits, in expectation or protection, at the sacrifices. Only the king wears the upright tiara or kidaris; a tall conical cap, flattened at the top. He alone speaks in the inscriptions. He frequently relates the deeds of his generals as performed immediately by himself. Service about the person of the king is entrusted to eunuchs, who are distinguished on the monuments by corpulence, flat cheeks, beardless chins, and lank hair—while all others wear long hair curling at the end, and long, carefully-trimmed beards. Eunuchs carry the parasol and the fan of the king; they are his butlers, and conduct into his presence those who come to pay homage or tribute; they also perform the duties of the royal scribes. We find them equally active as magistrates of the state; and finally we see them on war chariots as commanders of divisions of the troops.

On the organisation of the government we have very scanty information. The prophet Nahum speaks of the leaders and mighty men of the king of Asshur, of the "crowned" of the Assyrians who are numerous as the locusts, and the captains whom he compares to a swarm of grasshoppers.[396] Ezekiel mentions the "captains and rulers of Assyria gorgeously clothed in blue purple, horsemen riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men."[397] From the chronicle of the Assyrian kingdom preserved to us from the beginning of the ninth century,B.C. we find that the years were[Pg 189] regularly distinguished in a definite series by the names of certain high officers. The beginning is made by the year of Turtanu (Tartan), the chief-commander of the king; then follows the year of the chief of the palace, the year of the Rabbitur, i. e. controller of the harem (or this precedes the other), the year of the privy councillor of the king, the year of the overseer of the land, then the years of the prefects of the cities or regions of Rezeph, Nisibis, Arapha; and finally, the year of the prefect of the metropolis, Chalah. The viceroys of other cities or districts, e. g. of Gozan and Amida, were sometimes prefixed to the year; in the second half of the reign of Assurbanipal we also find the prefect of Babylon in the series of these high officers.[398] The regular list of the officers, after whom the year is named, and the record of the most important events which took place in the year, placed against the name of the officer, indicate a certain established order in the management of business. That in other respects also records were accurately kept is shown by the inscriptions, not only in the definite chronological statements for remote events, but also in the continued announcements of the numbers of slain enemies, of prisoners, of cattle taken as booty, of men and women removed and transplanted, and tribute received in money and animals. We see on the reliefs (at least on the monuments of the time of Sargon and after) the scribes occupied with these enumerations; they put down their notes on strips of leather. Short accounts of their successes by generals who have been sent out, reviews of affairs in neighbouring states, invariably directed to the king in person, are still in existence. The informant as a[Pg 190] rule refers to the detailed communications which the messengers will make. There is also preserved a fragment of the diplomatic correspondence between Assyria and Elam, a letter of Ummanaldas II. of Elam concerning the descendant of Merodach Baladan, who fled to him (p. 174), and a proclamation of Assurbanipal to the subjects of this Nabubelzikri, that he had taken them under his protection, and made Balibni a viceroy over them.[399]

As to the activity, the forethought, and the results of the regular government, we only learn from the inscriptions of the kings about their buildings, that storehouses were in existence and kept up for the booty taken in war, and the tribute; that horses and beasts of burden were kept for the army. If we may conclude from these lists of the years and officers, these indications and hints, that the government of the native land was duly arranged and discharged its functions regularly, the fact that the army and siege apparatus were perpetually in readiness leads us to assume an active and careful military government. The army no doubt occupied the first place in the attention of the kings. Their warlike activity, supported by a force always in readiness, was the only foundation of their power beyond the borders of Asshur. Of the warriors of Assyria Isaiah says: "They shall come with speed from the ends of the earth; none shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken; whose arrows are sharp and all their bows bent; their horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their chariots like a whirlwind. They shall roar like young lions, and lay[Pg 191] hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it."[400] According to the description of Herodotus, the Assyrians wore brazen helmets worked in a peculiar way; cuirasses of linen, lances, and shields and swords like the Egyptians; and besides these, war-clubs with iron heads.[401] From the evidence of the monuments the Assyrian infantry were divided into troops, distinguished by their clothing and armour. The heavy-armed had conical helmets or round caps with a high ridge and cheek-pieces, armour-coats, provided with plates or rings of steel on the breast, or cuirasses of scale armour in the place of these plates and rings, greaves extending from the knee to the ancle, or scale-armour hose. Beside this they cover themselves with round or oval shields. Their weapons of attack are the lance, and a short sword, straight or crooked, which was carried in the belt. In addition to this heavy infantry there were the light troops; bowmen and slingers. The first were occasionally accompanied by shield-bearers, who carried shields of the height of a man, and planted them before the bowmen.

The kings fought from their chariots with bow and arrows. This was the mode of fighting of the princes and captains throughout the Semitic warlike states. The kings of Elam and Ur and those of Erech and Babel were no doubt the first to take the field with war-chariots; after them the kings of Damascus and Hamath, and the princes of the Philistines. From the Syrians the Pharaohs borrowed their royal war-chariots and the chariots for their army. So long as the Hebrews were husbandmen and breeders of cattle, they fought simply on foot; when they established a monarchy we saw that the first care of the new princes was to provide themselves with chariots of war. From the[Pg 192] Semites this mode of fighting spread westward, not only to Egypt but also to Asia Minor and Hellas, and eastwards to the Indians on the Ganges. The commanders of the Assyrian army also fought from their chariots, which at the same time carried the standards of their divisions. The mass of chariots formed a special portion of the Assyrian army. Beside the two pole-horses, which are yoked, they are, as a rule, provided with a third or subsidiary horse; on the chariot, as a rule, are three men, a charioteer, and an archer, besides a shield-bearer, provided with coats of mail which leave only the arms free, and scale-armour for the legs. Occasionally the charioteer, as well as the archer, has a shield-bearer behind him. Cavalry was not wanting in the armies of Assyria any more than in the armies of the Pharaohs. We see numerous troops of cavalry with well-trained horses, partly armed with the lance and partly with the bow; partly sitting without any saddle on the bare back of the horse, and partly provided with pack saddles. Pictures of parade-duty are not uncommon. In these the lance is held free in the right hand, the shield is carried under the left arm. In the camp the rows of tents are separated by a broad gangway, in which rises the great tent of the king. We have already seen the king seated even in the camp on a high seat, with his bow in one hand and his arrow in the other. In the spacious tents, the warriors kindle fire between stones and place pots thereon, while in others the wounded are being tended on beds. We see the Assyrian army crossing a river; the king, the chariots and the baggage are rowed over in boats; the horses and the men swim, the latter with the aid of inflated bladders, as is still the custom in Mesopotamia. Other pictures exhibit ships with two rows of oars. In the battle we[Pg 193] see the line of the heavy-armed infantry awaiting the attack of the enemy; the first rank kneel down with outstretched lance; the second rank, in a somewhat crouching position, also hold the lance in rest; while the bowmen in the third rank stand upright and shoot over the two first ranks. Then the king, on his splendidly adorned chariot, drawn by richly caparisoned horses, sending forth arrow upon arrow, with the picture of Asshur the supreme deity over him, dashes upon the ranks of the enemy. In some reliefs, the infantry, or the cavalry of the enemy, already turned back in flight, shoot their arrows as they fly, an artifice well understood by the cavalry of the Medes and Persians. We also see the riders on camels defending themselves in this way in their flight.

The greater number of reliefs exhibit the enemies of the Assyrians in strongly fortified cities, protected by lofty walls and towers, in part with beautifully decorated pinnacles; sometimes two or three walls rise one behind the other. The fortresses lie on heights surrounded by vineyards, or forests of pines and fir-trees, or on rivers by palm-groves, where the fruits occasionally indicate the season of the siege; in other representations the position of the enemy's city on a river or the sea-coast is indicated by creatures of the water or the sea, like tortoises, large fish, etc. The Assyrians knew how to throw walls of circumvallation round the hostile city,[402] to build besieging-towers, to undermine the walls or force their way into the city by means of shafts under the earth.[403] But the ordinary mode of attack was to fill up the moat and then to make a breach in the walls by battering-rams. The battering-rams stood on wheels, and were protected by a case[Pg 194] covered by the skins of animals, or they were placed in the lower story of a moveable wooden tower, the upper part of which is occupied by archers; and the whole is then moved up on wheels to the wall. Machines for throwing stones are also to be seen on the monuments. When a breach is made, the infantry advance towards it under the protection of the "tortoise." If an attempt is made to scale the walls by ladders, the bowmen, where possible, from a covered position, such as a wood near the walls, keep up a lively fire upon the turrets of the wall, in order to distress the defenders and drive them from the breastwork, while the heavy-armed plant their ladders. The besieged then attempt to meet the storm by a shower of arrows, by throwing down stones and firebrands. When the walls are scaled we see the besieged pledging submission by raising their hands, the women escaping on mules or camels, or kneeling and praying for mercy. The victors collect the booty: arms, tripods, vessels, beds, stools; guards are set over these, while others bring to their commanders the heads of the slain, the number of which is taken down by the scribes. The flocks and herds of the vanquished, camels, sheep, and goats, are driven away; the prisoners are put in fetters and led before the king, who has ascended the throne. Here they appear, some with heavy irons on their hands and feet, some with the hands tied, some led by ropes, which are drawn through holes in their lips and noses, sometimes tied in pairs, sometimes in troops, driven forward with blows by the soldiers in charge. The king plants his foot on the neck of a captive prince; he puts out the eyes of another with his lance; others are impaled. Then follows the victorious return; soldiers and music go before the king's chariot, before which, as[Pg 195] we already know, the heads of the slain or executed princes of the enemy were occasionally carried.

The strength of the chief cities formed in the last resort the support of the kingdom. The walls of these the kings of Asshur cannot have neglected to renew and strengthen. In the inscriptions only the buildings of Sennacherib and Assurbanipal at the walls of Nineveh are mentioned. According to the statements of Ctesias, preserved in Diodorus, the city of Nineveh formed a long rectangle of 480 stades (60 miles) in the circuit. The walls which inclosed this space were 100 feet high, and were overtopped by 1500 towers of double the height.[404] A writing of the Hebrews, which, however, is not earlier than the fourth century B.C., maintains that the circuit of Nineveh was three days' journey; 120,000 inhabitants lived in the city, who could not distinguish the right hand and the left, i. e. children in the earliest years of life. More important is the evidence of Nahum, from the middle of the seventh century B.C., that "Nineveh is full of men as a pool is full of water; her merchants are more numerous than the stars in heaven."[405] The position of Nineveh is marked by the ruins of Kuyundshik and Nebbi Yunus, opposite Mosul; and the remains of the outer wall allow us to fix, with tolerable accuracy, the circuit which it really had. As a fact it formed a long rectangle, somewhat out of the square. On the west the course of the Tigris covered the city; the wall on this side of the city extended along the ancient bed of the river for 13,600 feet; the wall of the longer eastern side measures 16,000 feet; the wall of the north side is exactly 7000 feet; that on the short south side is only half this length;[406] so that the whole circuit of the city[Pg 196] does not reach ten miles, i. e. does not reach a sixth part of the extent given to it by Ctesias. Even if we add to this the circuit of the strong outer ramparts which run in a double and sometimes in a quadruple line, on the east side, from the point where the Khosr flows into the city, as far as the stream which, emptying into the Tigris, covered the southern front of Nineveh—even if we reckon in the city of Sargon (Khorsabad), which lay ten good miles to the north-east of Nineveh, on the left bank of the Khosr (p. 95), the circuit of both cities taken together does not amount to more than 15 miles. Xenophon, who was on the spot, and saw the walls of Nineveh still standing, gives them a circuit of six parasangs, i. e. of 20 miles. According to this, either the fortresses of Khorsabad and Nineveh were connected, and this circuit is actually given,—or Xenophon assumes that they once were in connection. We are hardly justified in excluding the first hypothesis. The lower part of the walls, so Xenophon tells us, was built of smoothed shell-stone;[407] the thickness was about 50 feet, and the height also 50 feet. On this substructure is raised the wall of bricks, which also is 50 feet thick, but 100 feet high. Hence these walls were standing 200 years after the fall of Nineveh; with the walls of Khorsabad, though broken by wide breaches, they were still to be traced through a circuit of 20 miles, and reached the astounding height of 150 feet, i. e. higher than Ctesias puts them. The remains of the walls of Khorsabad possess to this day a thickness of 45 feet, which agrees with Xenophon's measure; in the walls of Nineveh the substructure of well-hewn limestone can be traced, but the remains of the walls do not rise more than 46 feet above the present surface of the ground. If we are to[Pg 197] venture on a supposition about the number of the inhabitants from the extent of the walls of Nineveh and Khorsabad—the total of the two cities, in which the royal palaces and temples occupied a considerable space, can hardly be put down at more than 300,000.

Twenty good miles to the south of Nineveh lay the other residence of the kings of Asshur, Chalah, the city founded by Shalmanesar I. Chalah was naturally even stronger than Nineveh. On the west, as at Nineveh, the Tigris formed the protection; about seven and a half miles to the south the greater Zab emptied into the Tigris. The course of this from the north-east to the south-west formed on the east also an outer line of defence, which was made still more strong by the fact that a not inconsiderable tributary of the Zab, the Bumodus (Ghasr), which flows from north to south, empties into the Zab about ten miles to the east of Chalah, just before the latter unites with the Tigris. Above the mouth of the Zab, Assurnasirpal carried a canal from that river in a northern direction to Chalah (II. 312). The city itself formed, as has been already remarked, a regular square, the extent of which reached about half the circuit of Nineveh; the south-west corner of the city was occupied by the royal palace. Xenophon gives to the walls of this "large but desolated" city, which he calls Larissa, a circuit of two parasangs (seven miles, nearly). The walls also were of less dimensions here. Xenophon found the substructure of stones 20 feet high; the walls of burnt bricks on the substructure 100 feet high; the thickness of the walls was 25 feet.[408] Northward of Chalah, on the brook Shordere, which flows past on the south and east of Chalah, are heaps of ruins, extending as far as Keremles, and from this point again through the[Pg 198] plain as far as the district of Khorsabad. It is possible that the line of these forts formed an outer system of defence for Nineveh and Chalah, and that it lies at the bottom of the story of the 60 miles of circuit of Nineveh. The same circuit is given by Herodotus for the city of Babylon (cf. Chap. xv.). Of the third chief city, Asshur, which stood in ancient times, as we have seen, not only before Chalah, but also before Nineveh, nothing is left but heaps of refuse, out of which rises a conical hill. The ruins are of brick, among which here and there are seen some stones. The line of the old walls can still be traced. This city also formed a square, not less, but rather longer, in circuit than Chalah.[409]

It seems that the kings of Assyria laid less weight on the fortification of the city of Asshur, than on the strengthening of Chalah and Nineveh. They saw danger in the west only, from the lower Euphrates. The city of Asshur, on the western bank of the Tigris, was exposed to attacks from the west; Chalah and Nineveh were covered in this direction by the Tigris, which the enemy had to cross. To make the two cities so covered impregnable from the eastern side also was the object of the kings of Assyria, especially of Sargon, Sennacherib, and Assurbanipal. The thickness given to the walls of Nineveh, Khorsabad, and Chalah (25 to 50 feet), was sufficient to defy the battering-ram—the turrets, raised to the elevation of 120 to 150 feet, were so high that the stones of the slingers and the arrows of the bowmen could not reach them with effect, and no scaling-ladder or besieging-tower could be set up which would carry men to these turrets.

What Babylon possessed or acquired in science and[Pg 199] poetry, Assyria did not fail to appropriate, just as she used her divisions of the heavens and the year, her weights and measures, her standard of coinage, and her writing from all antiquity. In the ruins of Kuyundshik a great number of tablets have been dug up,[410] copies of old Babylonian originals, which have preserved for us the story of the Babylonians about Chasisathra (Xisuthrus) and the great flood, about the descent of Istar to the under world, and other narratives of a mythical character. In addition to this are prayers and poems, with fragments apparently on cosmogonical subjects, very difficult of interpretation, and hardly to be referred to any definite date. Of especial value for the deciphering of the Babylonian and Assyrian cuneiform writing are the clay tablets discovered here, on which the cuneiform symbols are explained by placing beside them the phonetic value of the words and inflections, first of the Accadian, that language unknown to us, and then of Babylonian-Assyrian.[411] The use of writing was not less extensive in Babylonia and Assyria than in Egypt. The copious application of it for the purposes of government and legal business has been already mentioned. We are indebted to this for the remains of the list of years and rulers, the synchronistic tablets of the kings of Asshur and Babel, and a long series of private documents from the time of Bin-nirar III. down to the overthrow of the empire. These documents, and the ambition of the kings to retain their names in the buildings which they erected, to set up their images wherever their armies or their dominion advanced, to transfer to[Pg 200] the walls of the buildings which they erected their achievements written on cylinders or stone slabs, to adorn the walls of their palaces with pictures of their hunts, their sieges, their victories and triumphs, accompanied by written explanations, have enabled us to restore, at least in its main lines, the lost history of Assyria—a history of which the Greeks have left and could only leave to us the fact that a kingdom of this name existed, and was the foremost power in Hither Asia, along with echoes of Medo-Persian songs about Ninus, Semiramis, and Sardanapalus—from which the Hebrews have retained no more than the names and the acts of the rulers who made their influence most deeply felt in the fortunes of Israel. Yet even the inscriptions of the kings of Asshur do not give us the history of Assyria undefiled. But whatever care they took to represent their successes in the most brilliant light possible—here and there we are driven to the attempt to bring back these accounts to the fact—they are far removed from the extravagance and the voluble assertions of the inscriptions of the Pharaohs. The far more realistic and historical sense of the Assyrians is stamped in their monuments and inscriptions. As they allow us to see, year by year, the activity, the untiring perseverance, and warlike skill of the Assyrian nation and its princes, even though they magnify their successes—so too the reverse side of these qualities is brought into prominence; the fierce cruelty, the bloody savagery which the conquered had to undergo. The kings constantly boast of the punishments they have inflicted, and appear more than once to exaggerate them.

The rivalry of the long series of the rulers of Assyria in building temples and palaces, which begins with the oldest period of the realm, after the pattern of[Pg 201] Babylonia, has preserved for us no inconsiderable remains of Assyrian arts, and ocular evidence of the industry and mode of life, of the character and manners of the Assyrians—not indeed in the breadth and unbroken succession of development in which the monuments and the inexhaustible sepulchres on the Nile have retained the picture of ancient Egypt. For monuments of plastic art, the ruins of Erech, and Ur, and of Babylon, have been investigated almost in vain. The ruins of Nineveh and Chalah have preserved a considerable series of works of sculpture. If in the ruins of Babylon, with the exception of outlines on seals or other cylinders, there is scarcely a single image of a god preserved, there have been discovered at Nineveh some statues of gods, and innumerable pictures in relief of gods and demons, on the slabs of the palaces. The most frequent object on these is the image of the god Asshur. On a bearded human head, of grave aspect, the god wears a round cap or a helmet, round which are horns; the figure extends only to the knees; it is surrounded by a winged disk to which, from the knees of the god downwards, are attached the tail-feathers of a bird. In battle-pictures the breast of the god is clothed with a cuirass of steel-plates; his bow is in his hand; he shoots his arrows against the enemies of his nation. On the pictures representing a victorious return, and the seal-cylinders of the kings, the bow rests in the hands of the god. Nebo, the god of the planet Mercury (I. 267), is exhibited in standing images, with long beard and bared breast; the robe descends from the breast. Of a statue of Istar, in her old temple at Nineveh, we have at the least the head.[412] The god Bin also is to be seen on cylinders; he holds the trident of his lightning in his hand, a[Pg 202] pointed cap is on his head; his robe falls, not from the shoulders, but only from the hips down to his ancles. The moon god Sin is seen on Assyrian cylinders in a long robe, with a long beard, standing on a half-moon; a second half-moon rises above the tall covering of his head. In a figure swimming in water, with a round horned cap on the head, and ending in the body of a fish from the hips downwards, we may no doubt recognise Dagon. The cylinders most frequently exhibit a sun's disk by the side of the images of Asshur, the crescent and seven stars.[413] On the slabs of stone which exhibit to us the forms of the kings, symbolical indications of the chief deities are visible to the left of the kings; we see the sun, the moon, a horned cap, and a winged disk, perhaps the symbol of the god Asshur. In the reliefs winged demons are often to be seen. They wear the high round cap, out of which rise four united bull's horns: occasionally the head is uncovered, and then it is surrounded merely with the narrow fillet of the priests; the arms and thighs are always uncovered. These forms also are frequently found in pairs, guarding the entrance to rooms; at times standing or kneeling in an attitude of blessing or prayer, on both sides of a wonderfully-shaped and adorned tree. In the same way two eagle-headed genii often stand opposite each other. Human figures, clothed in royal attire, with the head and wings of an eagle, are often found. Walking figures of lions with eagle heads and wings, or the back of a man on the legs of a bird surmounted by a lion's head, are found. The gates of the temples and palaces are guarded by winged bulls and lions with human heads. These are always placed in pairs.[Pg 203] The height of these images ranges from 10 to 18 feet. At the point where the long, richly-worked wings, which are thrown far back, are joined to the shoulders, rises a grave and solemn countenance, with a strong beard, sometimes wearing a cap, sometimes a tall tiara, round which wind four bull's horns. These figures stand at times entirely detached before the entrance; in others the fore part and fore legs alone are free from the pilasters of the doors, and the figure is continued in relief on the side of the pilaster.

Plastic art in Assyria is less forced and typical in the lines, forms, and figures, than plastic art on the Nile: it is not fettered by the unchangeable laws of Egyptian art; it is less solemn, and free from the tiresome parallelism of the Egyptian forms. The sculpture of Assyria is more significant and vigorous. Not tied down by the hieratic style, like the Egyptian, it also works for the most part in the softer material of limestone, while the Egyptians prefer granite, the hardest of all materials. The Assyrians do not strive after the gigantic and colossal forms of Egypt: the dimensions even of the colossal bulls and lions are on a more moderate scale. Far more naïve, they conceive of life more freshly, fully, and powerfully, and aim far more at a true representation of life than the Egyptian. Egypt prefers the sunk, Assyria the raised picture. On the Nile the outline is the chief object: in Assyria the forms are always modelled full, strong, and round, with energetic expression of the limbs, and muscular to an excess. The movement is more vigorous and full of expression than in Egypt, without, however, sacrificing repose and fixedness, and without destroying dignity in the representation of ceremonies. The feet of the figures exhibit the Egyptian position in profile, but the upper part of the body is full,[Pg 204] rounded, and closely compressed. The tall and thin forms of Egypt are not to be found in the monuments of Assyria. The clothing is heavy; the position and expression of the face is far more varied than in Egypt. The animals are represented plump and full of life, often with startling truth even in the most rapid motion; though not unfrequently with great exaggeration in the muscles. The great guardians of the portals exhibit a beautiful effect in the contrast of their mighty animal energy, and the quiet dignity of their human faces. Great practice in the treatment of the forms can hardly be mistaken anywhere; in spite of the dimensions, often colossal, the proportions are correctly preserved; and the larger pictures of camps, battles, and marches, if not better than those of Egypt, are more various and free in composition. Within the sphere of Assyrian art we are in a position to establish a certain distinction, a progress of some importance. The figures in the palaces of Assurnasirpal and Shalmanesar II., the two great princes of the ninth century B.C., are stronger and thicker, more coarse, violent, and exaggerated than the reliefs in the buildings of Sargon. In the century which passed since that time the plastic art of Assyria obviously made technical advances, and attained a more delicate treatment and greater regularity in the exposition. Later still, at the height of its development, Assyrian art is seen in the figures of the great palace of Nineveh (Kuyundshik), which Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Assurbanipal built in succession (p. 181).

The architecture of Assyria was not essentially different from that of Babylonia. The Assyrians had brought with them from the lower Euphrates the habit of building in bricks, and continued to use this style, though harder material lay at a less distance from[Pg 205] them than from the cities of the Babylonian plain. The temples and the palaces of Asshur, Nineveh, and Chalah consisted for the most part of unburnt brick-slabs, dried in the sun and mixed with straw. This material made it necessary here, as in Babylonia, to make the walls stout, which was also advisable owing to the summer heat. The thickness varies between five and fifteen feet. The stone for the substructure and casing, mostly limestone and shell-stone, was quarried in the adjacent mountains. The buildings were roofed by beams extending from wall to wall: by this necessity the breadth of the rooms was limited. As a rule these are narrow, and the want of breadth is compensated by length. These are the dimensions of the porticoes and galleries which we can trace in the remains of the royal palaces: the great portico of the palace of king Assurnasirpal at Chalah (II. 313) has only a breadth of 35 feet, with a length of 154 feet; the porticoes in the palace of Kuyundshik are from 150 to 180 feet long, and 40 feet in width; the great gallery is only 25 feet broad, but more than 200 feet in length. Yet in the palace of king Sargon at Khorsabad, remains of the bases of pillars have been found. The application of the brick-vaulted roof in the form of pointed and round arches is shown in the narrow passage in the building of Shalmanesar II. at Chalah (II. 323), and in some remains of door-arches at Khorsabad. The pictures of cities in relief also occasionally exhibit arched gateways. The sculptures in the stone slabs of white, grey, and yellow limestone or alabaster, which cover the walls and chambers to a height of 10 or 12 feet, were painted, as is shown by numerous traces of colour upon them.[414] The walls of the chambers above the sculptures, where[Pg 206] they did not make way for window lights, were decked with burnt and glazed tiles, sometimes coloured and enamelled; the beams of the roofs were adorned with carved work of wood and ivory, with plates of gold and silver, and precious stones.[415] The outer walls of the palaces must also have been cased with slabs of stone.

The wealth of Nineveh is called endless by the prophet Nahum. He mentions the abundance of carved and molten images, of costly vessels in the "house of their god." The monuments exhibit not only the "carved" images; beside many actual remains, they prove that costly furniture was in extensive use in the temples, at the court, and among the great officers of Assyria. The tables, stools, seats, drinking-vessels, vases, harness and bridles of horses, shown in the reliefs of the palace, are wrought with great delicacy and with good taste. The yokes of the chariots, the bows and bow-covers, exhibit very delicate carved work. On the robes of the kings we see groups of wild animals inwoven, partly real in form, as lions, partly mythical, like scenes of hunting and war. The ear-drops, which the kings and other persons of distinction wear, the bands round the arms and wrists, are of artistic work, and generally closed by the heads of lions, rams, and bulls; the weapons also, the handles and sheaths of the swords and daggers, must have been finished with great care and neatness, and in an excellent style. The not inconsiderable number of vessels of copper and bronze, of pitchers, stained glass, ivory articles, necklaces, armrings, and eardrops, which have been preserved in the ruins, prove that the monuments represent the possession of the Assyrians, without exaggeration of their beauty, that Assyria, besides what was brought to her by trade, possessed a school[Pg 207] of artisans long trained in the art, and excellently taught, without which such great and excellent works in architecture and sculpture would have been impossible. Of the tombs of the Assyrians few have been opened as yet. The coffins, like those in the Babylonian sepulchres, are narrow and small, and only contain skeletons, with bands on the arms and neck, and some simple clay vessels beside the coffins.[416]


[395] Ezek. xxi. 3-9.

[396] Nahum iii. 17, 18.

[397] Ezek. xxiii. 6, 12.

[398] E. Schrader, "Z. D. M. G." 25, 449 ff.; G. Smith, "Assyrian Canon;" Vol. II. p. 328, and above, p. 171, note.

[399] G. Smith, "Assurb." p. 252.

[400] Isaiah v. 26-29.

[401] Herod. 7, 63.

[402] Isaiah xxxvii. 33; cf. 2 Kings xix. 32; above, p. 127.

[403] Layard, "Nineveh," p. 378.

[404] Vol. II. p. 4.

[405] Nahum ii. 9; iii. 16.

[406] G. Rawlinson, "Monarchies," 12, p. 254 ff.

[407] Lyell, 'Elements of Geology,' ed. 3. p. 368.

[408] Xenoph. "Anab." 3, 4, 7-9.

[409] Layard, "Nineveh and its Remains," 2, 44.

[410] The so-called Archive of Assurbanipal in chambers 40 and 41 on Layard's plan.

[411] Lénormant, "Etudes Accadiennes," 1, 3, p. 67 ff.; E. Schrader, "Jen. Lit. Z." 4th April, 1874.

[412] G. Smith, "Disc." p. 248.

[413] G. Rawlinson, "Monarchies," 22, 16, 17; Layard, "Mon." Pl. 69 note, 45, 47, 48.

[414] Ezekiel also supports this, xxiii. 14, 15.

[415] Layard, loc. cit. p. 327, 328.

[416] Layard, loc. cit. p. 304.



[Pg 208]



Other cares and other efforts than the maintenance of a wide dominion, the erection of splendid palaces, the restoration of impressive works of art, the preparation of magnificent furniture, occupied a small region which obeyed the lords of that military power, and those palaces,—the kings of Asshur. The kingdom of Israel, though not annihilated by the arms of Assyria, was thoroughly broken by them. Twenty years after, Judah escaped the same disaster, but not without the severest wounds. It was laid waste at that time throughout its whole extent; the cities were taken or garrisoned; 200,000 of the inhabitants were carried away. Only the metropolis was maintained and saved. Afterwards, in the last years of Hezekiah, and under the reign of his son Manasses (he ascended the throne in 697B.C.), the land remained unmolested by the Assyrians for more than 20 years, till Esarhaddon undertook to subjugate Syria again to the dominion of Assyria, which his father had given up after raising the siege of Jerusalem. Some years after this Manasses joined the attempt of Tyre to resist the king of Asshur with the help of Tirhaka (p. 154). We do not know what Judah had to suffer for this attempt of the king: we only learn from the Hebrews that Manasses was[Pg 209] carried away captive, but at a later time restored to his kingdom. In any case Judah beheld for the space of 20 years the armies of Assyria on their march to and from the Nile (673-653 B.C.).[417]

In the first centuries after the settlement of the Hebrews in Canaan, the rites of the Syrians had in isolated instances forced their way in beside the worship of Jehovah. Under Saul, David, and Solomon the worship of Jehovah was established and organised, and took firm root. The earliest prophets, after the division of the kingdom, opposed the introduction of the worship of Baal in Israel with the fiercest zeal. In the time of Jeroboam II. and Uzziah, the renewed advances of these rites had been successfully met by the great prophets with the deepened and purified conception of the national deity. And now these hostile tendencies once more met in the severest conflict. The Hebrew Scriptures tell us that Manasses did not follow the example of his pious father; that he turned back after the way of his grandfather Ahaz; that he restored the worship of Baal, dedicated a place for fire-offerings in the valley of Ben Hinnom, and burnt his son to Moloch. On the roof of the royal palace and in the court of the temple altars were set up, and priests established, "who burnt incense to the sun, the moon, the zodiac, and all the host of heaven;" courtesans and women who wove tents dwelt in the buildings of the temple, and the king even set up the statue of Astarte (Istar) in the temple itself. In vain did the priests set themselves in opposition to this movement; in vain did the prophets announce: "The line and the plummet of destruction will be drawn over Jerusalem as over Samaria." Manasses caused those who opposed his arrangements and innovations[Pg 210] to be put to death; he is said to have filled Jerusalem from one end to the other with innocent blood. "Like a destroying lion," says Jeremiah, "the sword devoured your prophets."[418] The death of Manasses and the accession of his son Amon brought no improvement. "He did that which was evil, and walked in the way of his father, and served the idols which his father served."

The more energetically the prophets condemned the religion of the Syrians, the more strongly they contended against all customs and sacrifices, against sensuality, luxury, and debauchery, so much the more closely did the elements thus attacked and almost overcome combine together; the more stubbornly did the opposite party cling to the rites of the neighbours, the more eagerly did they collect all the Syrian deities in and round Jerusalem. The highest and the lowest religious conceptions,—the worship of the one holy God in heaven, and the rites of sensuality and mutilation—strove once more with each other with all their force; in the one case with the deepest certainty and conviction, in the other with the fierce impulse of the passions, and the support of the crown. The last ten years of the long reign of Manasses seem to have brought the severest persecution upon the priests and prophets of Jehovah which they ever experienced. And when Amon, after two years, was slain in the king's house by a conspiracy of his servants (640 B.C.), and the people of the land slew all who had conspired against Amon, and raised his son Josiah, a boy of eight years old, to the throne, it was natural to the circle of the priests and prophets to guard against the recurrence of such oppression of their faith and lives as had taken place under Manasses and Amon. This[Pg 211] was only possible if the religion which they professed, and for which they suffered, finally obtained a decisive victory, and became the exclusive religion of Judah. If the persecution ceased in the minority of the king, the Syrian rites continued to exist; and if the young king, when he came of age, should join that side, the times of Manasses would recur. Neither the organisation of the priesthood of the temple, nor their religious influence, was sufficient to retain the kings in the faith of Jehovah, and prevent them from reformations and persecutions in the interest of the Syrian rites. What the influence and authority of the priests failed to accomplish, the mighty religious utterance of the prophets in the fulness of their faith was also unable to avert.

The tendencies of the priests and prophets were already regarded as in a process of assimilation. The views of the prophets were not without influence on the habits and usages of the priests. The prophetic word had already begun to penetrate the old narrow views of the tribal god of Israel, holding a place beside other gods, the rigid rule of external service, the traditions of the priesthood, with its powerful mysticism, inwardness, and deeper idea of God; while, on the other hand, the prophets could borrow from the priests clear and established forms, and thereby felt themselves impelled to fix the relation of inspired religion to the rites of worship. The persecutions of Manasses had brought these two directions in which the religious life of Judah had developed more closely together than at any previous time. In this union men felt themselves stronger than before. If the crown could be attached to the worship of Jehovah, if the lasting support of royal authority could be secured for it, if the worship[Pg 212] of Jehovah could be elevated to the position of a legally established state-religion,—if by this means it became possible to apply the penalties of the law and religious influence with equal force in favour of the national religion, the hope might be entertained that the religion could be strictly enforced, that the utterances of priests and prophets, naturally supporting each other, and expressed in a popular form, would secure a lasting victory—that the worship of Jehovah could be greatly strengthened, the Syrian rites for ever excluded, the position of the priesthood secured, and future dangers turned aside from it.

The chief aim was to fill the hearts of the king and the people with more lively faith; to attach the king and nation more closely to the worship of Jehovah, and, if possible, to pledge them definitely to support it; to gain the power of the state and the force of the law for the maintenance of this worship. The ancient writings of the priests contained, as we saw, in addition to the account of the fortunes of the people in ancient times, the ritual, the rubrics for the priests, the rules of purification, the most ancient legal sentences and canons of blood-vengeance and family law, together with all the usages of justice. The contents of these writings formed a code for the priests rather than the laity; this fact, and the connection in which these regulations stood with the historical narrative, as well as the extent of the whole, made these books ill-adapted for presenting to the king and the nation a synopsis of the most essential duties, and for impressing these duties upon them. The detailed rules for the priests must be removed; a law-book for the laity was required. For this purpose the regulations scattered through the old books were collected and arranged[Pg 213] into a compendium of the requirements which every Israelite had to fulfil. The new conceptions of the prophets must be assimilated to the old regulations, and these brought into harmony with the deeper views of the prophets. Something was also deducted from any excessive and very ideal demands, in order to give a more certain currency to more moderate rules. Only of such a law could the hope be entertained that it would find adoption and win hearts, and be recognised by ruler and people as the fixed canon, the principal law of the land, and that it could be strictly enforced.

Josiah was of age when his kingdom was visited by a heavy calamity. Savage tribes from the north suddenly over-flowed Syria and Judah, laid waste the land far and wide, rolled on to Egypt, and then flowed backwards to their homes. If Jerusalem resisted, and perhaps the stronger cities also, the land was nevertheless cruelly devastated (625 B.C.). Judah was again brought to the brink of destruction, as in the days of Hezekiah, and again Jehovah had not made "a full end;" again he had saved his people. The king caused improvements to be made in the temple; for this purpose the doorkeepers collected money among the sacrificers. When Josiah sent his scribe Zaphan to the high priest Hilkiah to receive the collected money; the high priest said, that "he had found the book of the law in the house of Jehovah," and gave the scribe a roll. He brought the book to the king, and read it before him. Josiah was deeply moved by the contents, and the threats denounced in it against those who transgressed the law of Jehovah. He directed the high priest, Zaphan, and some others to "enquire of Jehovah about the words of the book that had been discovered." They went to Huldah, a prophetess, the wife of Shallum, the[Pg 214] chamberlain. The prophetess declared the words of the volume to be Jehovah's words. Then the "king (it was in the year 622 B.C.) assembled the elders of Judah and all the people in the house of Jehovah, and read in their ears all the words of the book, which was found in the house of Jehovah."[419]

According to this book—the second law—Moses, after the giving of the law on Sinai, had once more, in the land of Moab, on the borders of Canaan, shortly before his death, proclaimed the law of Jehovah, and renewed the covenant of Jehovah with Israel. The introduction to the book is a speech of Moses, which, after the manner of the prophets, is directly addressed to the Israelites, and gathers together the kindnesses which Jehovah had shown to his people in Egypt, and after the exodus from that land. The lofty style of this description, compared with the composition of the older law, is evidence of the effect subsequently exercised by the prophetic mode of conception and expression. But not the form only, the contents also of the new law are determined in essential points by the idea of God developed in the circles of the prophets (p. 26). Jehovah, who has created earth and heaven,[420] whose is "the heaven and the heaven of all heavens," "the God of gods and Lord of lords,"[421] who alone is true being, while all besides is transitory appearance, who guides nature and men according to his word and will, "who does justice to the widow and the orphan, and regards the person of no man,"[422] remains in the new law, as in the old, a jealous God, "who dips his arrows in the blood of his enemies;" but in this law he is also,[Pg 215] as the prophets taught, a merciful God who has no pleasure in the punishment of evil-doers, but in their amendment; who, it is true, "visits the sins of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation, but also has mercy on thousands who love him."[423] This God may not be worshipped under an image; for, as the book of the law expresses itself in an argument drawn from history: "Ye saw no manner of similitude on the day when the Lord spoke to you from Horeb, out of the midst of the fire."[424]

If the prophets raised their eyes beyond and above the relation of this one Lord of heaven and earth to the people of Israel to the conception of a divine government of the world; if Isaiah had spoken of the plan according to which Jehovah had arranged the fortunes of the nations and lands since the beginning of days; the law is naturally confined to the relation of Jehovah to Israel. But this relation is conceived chiefly in the feeling of the prophets. We saw how the prophets had been led by the conception of the peculiar fortunes experienced by the Israelites to reconstruct the relation of the tribal god in such a manner that the one Almighty Lord of heaven was regarded as having chosen Israel as his people: a relation which is brought forward by the prophets in the most various applications. Owing to this peculiar relation Jehovah gave Canaan to the Israelites; for this reason he chose Sion for his mountain, Jerusalem for his dwelling-place, and the temple for his house; for this reason Jehovah was, to the prophets, the real king of Israel. Like the old, the new book of the law regards the relation of Jehovah to the Israelites as a covenant, a treaty between two parties, each of whom can stand on his rights; Jehovah on his[Pg 216] worship; Israel on the services rendered in return by Jehovah, on the land granted to him for the service of Jehovah, on the enjoyment of his fields and vineyards, on peace and security against enemies, on the increase of his race and prosperity. Jehovah is the master, and Israel the servant; the servant must serve, but the master cannot keep back the wages. Jehovah has announced his commands to Israel; the Israelites have pledged themselves to fulfil them, and so long as they perform their obligation, Jehovah will not shorten the reward of their service. If on the ground of such a covenant the prophets regard all the evil which overtakes Israel as a consequence of the breach of it; if the "strife" between Jehovah and Israel concerning the observation and non-observation of the contract is a current idea with them, with which is connected the announcement of a day of judgment, and of the severe punishment which Jehovah will execute on those who transgress the covenant (p. 28); the book of the law is here marked by something of the priestly character, inasmuch as it concludes with the blessing which will attend the maintenance of the covenant, and the curse which will follow upon the breach of it: to which Moses adds; "he knows that the Israelites will do evil after his death."[425] In the first case "the fruit of the womb will be blessed in Israel," "the fruit of the fields, the increase of the kine, and the lambs of the sheep, the basket, and the kneading trough," and "Israel will lend to many nations and borrow of none;"[426] in the second case Jehovah will visit them "with the scab, with boils of Egypt on the knees and thighs, from the top of the head to the sole of the foot; with fever, pestilence, consumption, inflammation; with blindness, madness, and astonishment of heart;"[Pg 217] "the heaven above them will be of brass, and the earth under them of iron; they will be to all the kingdoms of the earth for oppression, and their carcases will be the food of the birds of the air, and the beasts of the field; they will live scattered among all nations from one end of the earth to the other; they will become an astonishment, a by-word, and a derision to the nations."[427]

If the prophets announced the day of judgment and the destruction of the unfaithful, they seldom forgot to describe, in the most glowing colours, Israel's restoration; they remained in the firm conviction that Jehovah's mercy would be as great as his anger: that Jehovah, through the remnant of the faithful and the regenerate Israel, would turn all nations to his service; that again in the future "a shoot would spring from the stock of Jesse;" that the race of David would reign with a renewed divine power (p. 28, 133). These great ideas of the restoration of the renewed and purified Israel, these hopes of the Saviour and restorer from the house of David, are wanting in the Book of the Law. It is simply pointed out, in regard to the kingdom of Israel, "that if Israel returns, Jehovah will lead back the captives, and gather Israel again, and circumcise his heart."[428]

If it is a subordinate point of view that the Israelites ought to serve Jehovah in order that it may be well with them, this conception nevertheless follows necessarily from the position of the tribal god to the tribe recommended to his protection—and to any unfettered mind the assumption is natural that reward should attend good actions; that the good must prosper and the evil suffer on the earth. The centre of this class of conceptions among the Israelites is not so[Pg 218] much to serve for the sake of the hire, as that the worship of Jehovah would have this reward as its immediate consequence. But if at the same time the recompense for service was brought more strongly into prominence among the Jews than among any other nation, if in no other people this legal state of the relation between God and man is established so much in the form of a compact, the prophets had already given an inward and moral meaning to the simple relation of contract between Jehovah and Israel. They looked on it as a marriage (p. 40), and consequently they did not merely reprove the breach of the contract as an outrage on right, but branded it as faithlessness. The Book of the Law also does not remain at the point of the mere contract. The Book asks: "Whether such a mighty thing was ever done or heard of on the earth, as that a God had attempted to take a people to himself out of the midst of the nations by signs, and wonders, and war, and a strong hand and an outstretched arm, by great and wonderful deeds."[429] But we are further told, "Jehovah has not inclined to you, and chosen you, because ye were more than all nations—ye were the least of the nations—but because Jehovah loved you."[430] "It is the grace of Jehovah that he has inclined to the fathers of Israel, and to them only, to lead them."[431] If the relation of the protecting lord to his people thus passes into a relation of free choice and love, the Book of the Law, on the other hand, requires from the Israelites something more than an external worship of Jehovah by gifts and sacrifices. "The command which I give thee is not hidden from thee, nor is it far off, that thou shouldst say, Who will go up to heaven and bring it down, or who will go over the[Pg 219] sea and announce it to us? The word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart."[432] "Circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stiff-necked."[433] "Ye will find Jehovah if ye seek him with all your heart, and all your soul."[434] "What does Jehovah require of thee? That thou shouldst love him with all thy strength, and walk in his ways."[435] "Love Jehovah, thy God, with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments alway."[436]

If the new law seeks to give a value to inwardness, to lifting up the heart, and love to God; if it recognises the moral nature of Jehovah in the heart of man, and in this point is fully in harmony with the requirements of the prophets; yet at the same time, in accordance with the view of the priests, the whole sacrificial service was retained, with the regulations for purification. Even if the priests had been able to adopt the point of view of the prophets—the conception of purely inward elevation, and service with the heart—how could this have been brought into force, and established among the people, or with the kings, who found it no easy task to keep up the ritual of the service of Jehovah beside the sensual Syrian rites? The ritual for the priests, the regulations for their rights and duties, were in existence; the new law was not intended to instruct the priests, it was essentially a rule of life for the laity. Hence in this respect the new law had only to work its way as a supplement, to impress more definitely on the people unity of the worship, and its concentration in the temple at Jerusalem. Thus it was decisively commanded that the Passover also should be kept by all Israelites in Jerusalem (II. 210). In order finally to[Pg 220] put an end to the ancient custom of worshipping Jehovah "in the high places," the rule was enforced that all sacrifices should be offered in the temple at Jerusalem: every other place of sacrifice was expressly forbidden, and every sacrifice which was not presented by the priests of the temple. On the other hand, in other departments, the new law exhibits greater moderation. At the festival of the new bread it was enough if every one offered freewill-offerings according to the measure in which "Jehovah has blessed him;" but the Israelite was not to appear before Jehovah with utterly empty hands.[437] The new. law moderated the demands for giving the tithe to the Levites. The tithe of the harvest was still to be offered according to ancient custom as a thank-offering for Jehovah in the temple; but it was permitted to redeem the tithe in kind and exchange it for money: finally, the law declared itself content if the tithe were duly paid at least in each third year.[438] The tithe of cattle was entirely dropped in the Book of the Law; only the claim of the priests to the male first-born of animals was retained: "With such oxen ye shall not plough: such sheep shall not be shorn; they shall be eaten before Jehovah year by year."[439] The new law provided a compensation for the diminution of the tithe, by allowing the Levites, like the priests, to have a share in the sacrifices, if they did service in the temple, and by the rule that the Israelites should invite the Levites to the sacrificial feasts at the thank-offerings and festivals.[440] Other requirements of the old law—that a part of the spoils of war should be given to the priests—that in enumerations and levies of the[Pg 221] people every one should pay a poll-tax to the temple, were not repeated in the new law.

The most essential point was to put an end to the Canaanitish rites in Israel, and prevent their entrance for the future. The new law therefore had to retain in all its sharpness the opposition to the Canaanites: in the conquered cities at least all that was male was to be "cursed" with the edge of the sword.[441] And not less must the strict regulations of the ancient law be kept up about the exclusiveness of Israel towards all other nations, the prohibition of marriages with them (a rule only relaxed in the case of women captured in war),[442] and against receiving strangers as citizens and partners of the community. Even the closely-related tribes of the Ammonites and Moabites were not to be received, though families of these tribes in the tenth generation were living in Israel. The only exception allowed by the Book of the Law was in favour of the Edomites, the most closely-related tribe (I. 415). "From the Edomite thou shalt not turn away; he is thy brother?" Edomites were to be received in the third generation. The new law goes further than the old in threatening the worship of every other god than Jehovah with the punishment of death, in demanding that every one who served another god should be brought out to death. Least of all were the next of kin to spare the apostate: they were rather to take the foremost place in the persecution. He who served other gods was brought before the gate, on the evidence of two or three witnesses, and stoned, the witnesses throwing the first stone at him: but the Book of the Law says expressly that the evidence of one witness was not enough.[443] In the same way false[Pg 222] prophets, who incited to the worship of other gods, even if they did signs and wonders, were put to death.[444] "If thy brother," the Book continues, "or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thy own soul, entice thee to serve other gods, thou shalt not spare him; thy hand shall be the first upon him to stone him to death."[445] If a city practises idolatry, the inhabitants and every live thing in the city, even the cattle, are to be "cursed" and put to the edge of the sword; all furniture and property is to be brought into the market-place and burnt as a burnt-offering for Jehovah. Then the houses are to be destroyed with fire and never rebuilt.[446]

The Book of the Law sought to avoid the greatest danger of all, by the provision that the people should not choose any stranger to be king. How could a stranger be king in Israel when no strangers were to be admitted into the people? The king of the people which Jehovah chose must belong to the chosen race. But the new law also adds, that the people are "to make him king whom Jehovah shall choose," a regulation which, in so far as it recognises and sanctions the old right of election, must be intended to guard against the influence of the priests on the possession of the throne, and their decision. For the king himself the Book lays down the rule: not to multiply horses and wives to himself, that his heart turn not away, as had been the case with Solomon and Ahab, and not to greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. He is also to make a copy of the law when he sits upon the throne of his kingdom, that it may be with him, and "he may read therein all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear Jehovah, and observe all the words[Pg 223] of the law, and that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren."[447]

The old law gave the rules of blood-right, and family-right, and in addition canons on the rights of the person, and the protection of property. In the new law the main object was to secure the carrying out and application of these rules of justice in the practice of the tribunal. For this object a definite influence of the priests on the tribunal was required. In principle the Book declares, that "every sentence shall be given after the decision of the priests and Levites,"[448] for practice it is contented to prescribe, that judges and overseers were to be placed at all the gates; and then adds: "If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment between blood and blood, and between plea and plea, and stroke and stroke in the gates, then thou shalt arise and get thee to the place which Jehovah shall choose (the temple), and come to the priests and Levites and the judge, who shall be there, and do according to the sentence which they pronounce for thee." The man who will not listen to the priest who stands there to minister before Jehovah is to be put to death.[449]

In the judicial process the new law lays emphasis on the rule that only the testimony of two or three witnesses is to be sufficient,[450] and that the testimony is to be strictly proved. The judges are to inquire, and "if the witness is a false witness, and has spoken falsely against his brother, ye shall do to him as he thought to do to his brother."[451] Like the old law, the new warns the judge to "have no respect of persons," and adds that he is to take no gift, that he is never to[Pg 224] give crooked judgments; least of all, in the case of widows and orphans. "Cursed is he that perverteth the judgment of the fatherless and widow."[452]

In the canons of law, as in the regulations about the tithes, the new code makes changes only with a view to the carrying out of the law in practice. It goes decidedly beyond the old in the regulations, instituted even in the old law, for the diminution of the severity of the law of debt, and in regard for the oppressed and poor (II. 221). The arrangements about the years of Sabbath and of Jubilee are dropped as impracticable in the new law, and are reduced to the much simpler rule, that in every seventh year, i. e. in the year of Sabbath, an "acquitment is to be made," i. e. every unpaid loan, made before this year, is to be cancelled, with the income upon it. Feeling the evil consequences which might spring from this regulation, the Book of the Law at the same time gives warning that no one is to be misled into refusing loans to the poor from the fear that he could not count on repayment after the year of acquitment.[453] The older law requires, as has been already remarked, that in lending to the poor no interest should be taken;[454] the new law went further: interest is not to be taken from any Israelite, but only from strangers (i. e. Phenician merchants).[455] But here also it is added, that no one for this reason "is to harden his heart, and close his hand before his poor brother; thou shalt lend to him on a pledge (i. e. on sufficient security), what is requisite for his need, and Jehovah will bless thee in all the work of thy hands."[456] Thus in Israel money was, in fact, only lent on pledge. The old law forbids to take[Pg 225] the cloak of the poor in pledge;[457] the new law forbids the creditor, who demands his loan, to enter the house in order to choose a pledge for himself, and lays down the rule that the man who lends money is to wait outside till the debtor brings a pledge. The mill and the mill-stone (as indispensable to every household), and the garment of the widow, are not to be demanded.[458]

The new law repeatedly gives command that the debtor, who from inability to pay has become the slave of his creditor (II. 221), is not to be called upon to perform the duties of a slave, but is rather to be kept in the house as a hired servant and a serf. It requires that all slaves should participate, not only in the rest of the Sabbath, but in the enjoyment of the festivals of harvest and vintage. It repeats the command to liberate Hebrew slaves in the seventh year, and adds: "And when thou sendest him away free, thou shalt not let him go empty; thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress. Remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and that Jehovah thy God redeemed thee." Runaway slaves, who had escaped into another community, were not to be delivered up again to their master, according to the new code.[459]

The old law gave command: "The hire of the day labourer shall not remain with thee till the morning" (II. 225). The new law requires that it shall be paid before sunset: "for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it."[460] The poor, the widow and the orphan in the land, are not to be oppressed; they must be supported before the court, and the hand opened[Pg 226] towards them. At the harvest there is to be no gleaning. The scattered ears are not to be gathered any more than the fallen berries in the vineyard. "Hast thou forgotten a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not return to take it; this sheaf shall be, like the gleanings, for the stranger, the widow and the orphan."[461] Strictly as the new law maintained the exclusiveness of Israel towards the neighbours (p. 221), it is equally emphatic in taking the part of the individual unprotected stranger who dwells in Israel. "Cursed is he who perverts the judgment of the stranger."[462] The law forbids the mocking of afflicted persons owing to infirmities of body; the dumb man is not to be reviled, nor a stumblingblock to be placed in the way of the blind; the man is accursed who causes a blind man to go out of his way.[463] A man shall not see the ox or sheep of his brother go astray without leading it back, or keeping it, if the owner is unknown to him; and the same shall be done with all lost property.[464] Only the young ones are to be taken from the nest of the bird, and not the mother with them.[465] Fruit trees are to be spared even in the land of an enemy.[466] The mouth of the thrashing-ox is not to be tied, and even animals must rest on the Sabbath.[467]

When king Josiah had read this book before the assembly of the elders and the people in the house of Jehovah (p. 213), he vowed that he "would turn after Jehovah, and keep his ordinances and commands, and fulfil with all his heart and soul the words of the covenant written in the book." "And all the people entered into the covenant." The king went vigorously[Pg 227] to work to destroy the altars, statues, and symbols of foreign rites which remained in Jerusalem, in the neighbourhood, and the whole country, from the time of Manasses and a yet earlier date. The image of Astarte (p. 209) was removed from the temple, and burnt on the brook Kidron; the altars on the roof of the king's palace, which Ahaz had made, as well as those which Manasses had set up in the court of the temple, were torn down; the place for offering burnt-offerings to Moloch in the valley of Ben Hinnom; the altars of Milcom and Camus, which since Solomon's time had existed on the high places near Jerusalem (II. 195), were purified, "that no one should any more make his son or his daughter to pass through the fire." All the vessels of the worship of Baal and the star-gods were removed, and the houses of the male worshippers thrown down. When the king proceeded to put an end to the ancient worship of Jehovah on the heights, he found greater resistance than in the removal of these foreign rites and their priests. He commanded all the priests of the cities of Judah to come to Jerusalem, and purified the high places "from Geba to Beersheba," even the places at Bethel which Jeroboam II. had set up, against which Amos and Hosea had declaimed.[468] The priests who did not obey, and continued to sacrifice at the old places of sacrifice, and on the high places, he caused to be slain as sacrifices at the altars which they refused to desert. Then the Passover was celebrated according to the regulations of the law, "as never before under the kings of Israel and Judah," and tradition proudly declares of Josiah "that before him there arose no king like unto him, nor after him."[469]


[417] Above, p. 157, 162 ff.

[418] 2 Kings xxi. 3-16; xxiii. 4-14, 26; xxiv. 3. Jer. ii. 30; vii. 31; viii. 2, 19; xv. 4; xix. 4, 5.

[419] 2 Kings xxii. 3-20; Deut. xxxi. 9-13. The less weight will be given to the somewhat circumstantial account of the discovery given in Chronicles as compared with the Books of Kings because the details are only a development of what Hilkiah says to Zaphan.

[420] Deut. iv. 32.

[421] Deut. x. 14, 17.

[422] Deut. x. 18.

[423] Deut. v. 9.

[424] Deut. iv. 15.

[425] Deut. xxxi. 27.

[426] Deut. xxviii. 12.

[427] Deut. xxviii. 15; cf. iv. 27.

[428] Deut. xxx. 1-10.

[429] Deut. iv. 32-34.

[430] Deut. vii. 7, 8.

[431] Deut. x. 14, 15; iv. 37.

[432] Deut. xxx. 11-14.

[433] Deut. x. 16.

[434] Deut. iv. 29.

[435] Deut. xix. 9; x. 12.

[436] Deut. xiii. 3; xi. 1; cf. vi. 4-6.

[437] Deut. xii.; xvi. 16.

[438] Deut. xv. 19, 20; iv. 22-29; xxvi. 12-15.

[439] Deut. xii. 6, 11, 17; xiv. 27-29.

[440] Deut. xviii. 6-8.

[441] Deut. xx. 10-17.

[442] Deut. vii. 1-4.

[443] Deut. xvii. 2-7.

[444] Deut. xiii. 1-5.

[445] Deut. xiii. 6-11.

[446] Deut. xiii. 12-17. Cf. Exod. xxii. 18, 20.

[447] Deut. xvii. 14-20.

[448] Deut. xxi. 5.

[449] Deut. xvi. 8-12; xix. 17; xxv. 13.

[450] Deut. xvii. 4, 6; xix. 15.

[451] Deut. xix. 19.

[452] Deut. xvi. 19; xxvii. 19.

[453] Deut. xv.

[454] Vol. II. p. 220.

[455] Deut. xv. 6; xxiii. 20; xxviii. 12.

[456] Deut. xv. 7-11.

[457] Vol. II. p. 220.

[458] Deut. xxiv. 6, 10-13, 17.

[459] Deut. xii. 12; xvi. 11, 14; xv. 12-18.

[460] Deut. xxiv. 15.

[461] Deut. xxiv. 19-22.

[462] Deut. xxvii. 19.

[463] Deut. xxvii. 18. Cf. Levit. xix. 14.

[464] Deut. xxii. 1-4.

[465] Deut. xxi. 6.

[466] Deut. xx. 19, 20.

[467] Deut. xxv. 4.

[468] Above, p. 31.

[469] 2 Kings xxiii. 4-25. 2 Chron. xxxiv.; xxxv. 1-9. Jesus, Son of Sirach, xlix. 1, 2.



[Pg 228]



Far from the centres of power and civilisation in Hither Asia, beyond the Caucasus and the Black Sea, dwelt wandering tribes who, in the accounts of the Greeks, were generally denoted by the common name of Scyths. It was known at an early time, among the Greeks, that these tribes which dwelt to the north of the Thracians lived on their herds, especially on the milk of their mares. Even the Homeric poems make mention of the "'horse-milkers,' of the 'Thracians,' who live poorly on milk, the most just of men." The name "Scythians" is first found in Hesiod, who calls them "horse-milking eaters of milk, who live on waggons." Æschylus says that the hordes of wandering Scythians live in desolate plains, on the shore of Oceanus, at the farthest, pathless end of the earth, on the lake Mæotis (sea of Azof), and to the east of it; "they dwell in woven tents, which move on wheels, they eat the cheese of mares, and are armed with far-shooting bows."[470]

The nations of the North come out more plainly in the history of Herodotus, who was far better informed about the North than many later authorities. "The Caspian Sea," he tells us, "is an isolated sea, fifteen[Pg 229] days' journey in length, and eight days' journey in breadth, if the oars alone are used." Toward the east of this sea are large plains, in which dwell the Sacæ, and beyond them, on the Jaxartes, the Massagetæ; "beyond the Massagetæ are the Issedones." Beyond the Issedones dwell the Arimaspi.[471] On the other side, to the west of the Caspian Sea, is the Caucasus, the largest mountain range on the earth in the height and multitude of its mountains. This range is inhabited by many nations. Northwards of the Caucasus, and to the west as far as the northern point of the Mæotis, and to the Tanais (Don), "a great river," which comes down from the north out of a large lake in the land of the Thyssagetæ, and ends in a still larger lake—the lake of Mæotis—dwelt the Sauromatæ (the Sarmatians). Their land was one great plain, in which grew neither fruit trees nor forest trees, and it stretched upwards along the Tanais for fifteen days' journey. To the north of the land of the Sarmatians dwelt the Budini, the Thyssagetæ, and the Iyrcae. Among the Sarmatians the women, like the men, lived on horseback; they wore the same clothing as the men, and knew how to use the bow and javelin, and went with or without the men to hunt or make war,[472] and no Sarmatian maiden married till she had slain an enemy; for the Sarmatians were descendants of the Amazons, who fled from the Thermodon over the Pontus, and there took as husbands young men belonging to these Scythians who called themselves Scoloti: with these they afterwards marched to the east of the Tanais. Hence, according to Herodotus, we must fix the abode of the Sarmatians in the steppes eastward of the lower course[Pg 230] of the Don, above the lower Volga, perhaps as far as the Yaik.

The Scythians, who called themselves Scoloti, as Herodotus further tells us, had previously dwelt in the east, and afterwards marched to the west, under the pressure of the Massagetæ. But Aristeas related that the Massagetæ had not driven out the Scythians, but the Arimaspians had driven the Issedones out of their land, and then the Issedones had expelled the Scythians. The Scoloti dwelt to the west of the land of the Sarmatians, on the western bank of the Tanais. Their territory extended along the shore of the Mæotis and Pontus, as far as the mouths of the Ister (Danube). This, the largest of all rivers "which we know," was said to flow down from the Celts, the nation in the extreme west, through the whole of Europe, till it finally reached the land of the Scythians, where it ran into the Pontus by five mouths.[473] The peninsula on the west side of the Mæotis, i. e. the Crimea, also belonged, so far as it was level, to the Scyths; but the Tauri dwelt on the mountains in the south-west. The reach from the mouth of the Don as far as the mouths of the Danube is the length of the land of the Scythians; the breadth Herodotus puts at twenty days' journey, i. e. 500 miles, if you go from the Pontus into the main-land to the north.

According to this the territory of the Scoloti extended from the sea upwards in the east about as far as the bend of the Don to the south, and on the Dnieper as far as the rapids in this river; i. e. it comprised the land of the Cossacks on the west of the Don, and the steppe, and further to the west the plains of Moldavia, as far as the Carpathian range.[474] Like[Pg 231] the land of the Sarmatians, the land of the Scoloti was one vast plain, without trees, with the exception of a strip of forest which extended from the sea on the left bank of the Borysthenes (Dnieper) from three to four days' journey up the river, but rich in grass, as it was watered by large rivers.[475] To the west of the Tanais the first river was the Borysthenes, the largest of the Scythian rivers, flowing down through the land; and the soil by the river was so good, that when sown it produced the best corn, and where it was not sown there stood tall grass. Further to the west the Hypanis (Bug) flowed out of a lake, round which pastured white horses, through Scythia to the Pontus; this river had a course of only nine days' journey (225 miles), while the Borysthenes was navigable for fourteen days' journey from the mouth.[476] Still further to the west was the Tyras (Dniester), which also flowed out of a lake; by these lakes are doubtless meant the marshes in the upper course of the Bug and Dniester.

To the north, beyond the Scoloti, twenty days' journey, according to Herodotus, from the land of the Tauri, on the west bank of the Tanais, dwelt the Melanchlæni—so called from the black garments which they wore; they had Scythian manners, but were not a tribe of the Scythians. To the west of these lived migratory tribes, without law or justice, of far ruder manners than the Scoloti; they were the only tribes which ate human flesh, and were in consequence called Androphagi. And further yet to the west beside the Androphagi dwelt the Neuri, northwards of the lake from which the Tyras (Dniester) springs, a nation of Scythian manners. Like the Scoloti, the Neuri were the eastern neighbours of the Agathyrsi, through whose land the Maris (the Theiss with the Marosh)[Pg 232] flowed down into the Danube.[477] But who dwelt beyond the Neuri, the Androphagi, and the Melanchlæni, and further to the east beyond the Argipæans, who dwelt to the north of the Iyrcae, at the foot of lofty mountains (up to these the land was level), and wore Scythian clothing, and lived on the fruits of trees, and of the Issedones, in the north—of this, Herodotus assures us, no one knew anything more than "the accounts given by the Issedones, the Argipæans, and the Scythians." The Issedones related that beyond them dwelt the Arimaspi, one-eyed men, who took the gold from the griffins which were again further to the north. Aristeas of Proconnesus (550 B.C.), who professed to have been among the Issedones, had celebrated the Arimaspi in verse. He said that "beyond the nation of the Issedones, rejoicing in long hair, towards the north, dwelt the Arimaspi, rich in horses, sheep, and oxen, the mightiest men of all, but each in his full face had but one eye surrounded with thick hair."[478] Æschylus calls the Arismaspi, "one-eyed riders of horses by the gold-flowing stream;" beside them are the griffins, "the sharp-mouthed, mute hounds of Zeus." "Oceanus," the god of the water surrounding the earth, Æschylus represents as passing through the air of the north, on a griffin, "the four-legged bird."[479]

According to Herodotus, the Sarmatians and the Scoloti spoke the same language, but the Sarmatians spoke it badly. Beyond this remark and the statements about the masculine life of the Sarmatian women, he gives us no further information about this people.[Pg 233] But he speaks at greater length about the Scoloti. The nature of the steppes which they possessed did not allow them to lead a more settled life than the Sarmatians. It is true that in the spring the herbage grows luxuriantly on these steppes, but it is soon parched by the glow of summer, and after a scanty second growth in the autumn it succumbs to the snow storms of the long winter. Thus the Scoloti were induced to lead a wandering pastoral life. Yet they had passed beyond the stage of a purely nomadic life, at least after the year 700 B.C. If, according to the legend of the Scoloti, a golden plough fell down from heaven for their forefathers, the story proves not only the knowledge of agriculture, but the high value placed upon it. The account of Herodotus, as well as later statements of the Greeks, show us that the Scoloti cultivated the land in the depressions at the mouths of their rivers sheltered by strips of forest from the north wind, on the lower course and at the mouths of the Borysthenes (Dnieper), the Hypanis (Bug), and the Tyras (Dniester). Here they sowed corn, millet, and hemp. At that time the plains of the Crimea also were reckoned as part of the corn land of Scythia; they must therefore have been protected by forests against the storms of the north.[480] The property of the Scoloti, with the exception of the tillers of the soil in these districts, consisted in herds of horses and cattle, and flocks of sheep, from the wool of which they prepared felt coverings; their food was cooked flesh.[481] Of wood there was such a scarcity that they could only use brush-wood for cooking; and if this was not to be had, they took the bones of animals for fuel. The men were mostly on horseback; the women and children lived in waggons yoked with oxen;[482] the waggon,[Pg 234] provided with a cover of felt, was at the same time tent and house.[483] The clothing of the Scoloti consisted of skins; beside the upper garment of leather they had wide breeches of the same material. These garments, so astonishing to the Greeks, they wore, as Herodotus says, "on account of the cold," and in addition a girdle round the body, which they drew tight when they had had nothing to eat for a long time. The horse was the most important animal for the Scoloti; they lived in part on horse-flesh; they were fond of mare's milk, and the preparation of acidulated mare's milk (koumyss) was known to them.[484]

The nation was made up of a number of tribes. According to Herodotus, the land was divided into cantons, each of which had its own chief, and a place where he pronounced justice; in each canton, besides the residence of the chief, was a place sacred to the god of war, from which it follows that at the time presupposed in the description of Herodotus the tribes of the Scoloti no longer marched at will through the whole district. This original state was not merely abandoned owing to the settlements in the agricultural districts; even the habit of wandering up and down, the search for pasture and for water, and hunting, were limited among the migratory tribes to a particular district, within which the tribe changed its encampment according to the change of the seasons, and the productiveness of the hunting and pasturage. Moreover, the nomadic habit was also so far abandoned that the head of the tribe had a definite place of abode in the canton, and there was a sacred place in each canton. The rulers of the cantons in Hero[Pg 235]dotus were undoubtedly the princes of the tribes, the chiefs of the oldest family, or of the family which once ruled the tribe. Even among the tribes themselves there was an order of precedence, which the legend of the Scoloti does not carry back to difference of age but to the favour of heaven. The tribe which held the foremost place among the Scoloti was, according to Herodotus, the tribe called the "Royal Scythians." This tribe furnished the chief of the whole nation, or rather the chief of this tribe was also the ruler of all the other tribes—the king of all the princes of the tribes. Here also, in this subordination of the chieftains and tribes under one liege lord—in this one ruler of the whole nation—we see plainly that the Scoloti had left far behind the stage of purely nomadic life. We can establish it as a fact that this monarchy was in existence among the Scoloti in the first half of the seventh century B.C., and apparently it existed far earlier. The "Royal Scythians," i. e. the tribe to which the royal house belonged, dwelt, according to the statement of Herodotus, on the Borysthenes, in the district of Gerrhus, fourteen days' journey from the mouth of this river. Hence the pastures of the royal horde must be sought on the rapids of the Dnieper.

Before all gods, the Scoloti worshipped the sky-god, Papæus, and Hestia, i. e. the genius of the hearth, whom they called Tabiti, "the queen of the Scoloti," as Herodotus says; and beside these two, the god of light, Œtosyrus, and the earth-goddess, the spouse of the sky-god, who was called Apia.[485] The Scoloti had no images or altars. Only the war-god, to whom they offered more sacrifices than to all the rest[Pg 236] of the gods, had a sanctuary at the place of assembly for each canton. This was a great heap of bundles of brushwood, three stades in length and breadth, and flat on the top (each year 150 waggon-loads of brushwood were added), in which an iron sword—the symbol of the god—stood erect. To these swords sacrifices were offered yearly, chiefly of horses, though other animals were used. When the Scythians sacrificed their prisoners to the war-god (p. 239), they poured wine on their heads, and slew them at the base of the heap of brushwood, so that the blood ran into a skin, and the blood was then poured upon the erect sword. After this the right arm was hewn from the corpse of the victim and thrown into the air; it was allowed to remain where it fell.[486]

The Scoloti derived the origin of their nation from the gods—from Papæus, the god of the sky. This god begot Targitæus with the daughter of the river Borysthenes. Targitæus had three sons, Lipoxais, Arpoxais, and Colaxais. In their days a golden cup, a golden battle-axe, a golden yoke, and a golden plough fell down from heaven. When Lipoxais attempted to take the gold it burned; and in the same manner it escaped Arpoxais. But the youngest brother was able to take it. So he became king, and from him arose the royal tribe; from the two others sprang the other tribes.[487] These gifts of heaven were carefully guarded by the kings, and each year the Scoloti assembled to offer[Pg 237] sacrifices to them. The supreme power was hereditary in the family of Colaxais, who was nearest to the sky-god. The son succeeded to the father; but the people, if discontented with the king, chose another member of the same family.[488] The kings led the army in war, divided the booty, and were the supreme judges in peace.[489] If a king pronounced sentence of death, not only was the guilty man put to death, but all his family with him.[490] But if a Scolote was condemned to death on the accusation of another Scolote, the king handed over the condemned person to the complainant, who put him to death. The kings had several wives, and chose whom they would out of the free Scoloti to be their servants. They had cooks, butlers, overseers of their horses, messengers, and a body-guard.[491] If the king was sick, the Scoloti believed that some one among the people had sworn falsely by the spirit of the hearth of the king, which was their most sacred oath, and that this was the cause of the king's sickness.[492] The king then caused the three most famous soothsayers to come to him, of whom there were many among the Scoloti. They divined by separating bundles of withes, or by unrolling and rolling up strips of linden bark. Then the three soothsayers named to the king the man who had taken the false oath. If six other soothsayers were of the same opinion, the Scolote mentioned by the first was beheaded. If the six were of a different opinion, fresh soothsayers were examined; and if, in the end, the majority declared against the opinion of the three first, these were bound and placed on a waggon filled with brushwood and yoked with oxen; the brushwood was set on fire, and the oxen driven out into the open country.[Pg 238]

If the king died, his body was embalmed, and carried round through all the hordes. At all the places to which the body came, the Scoloti shaved off their hair in sign of mourning, and cut out a piece from the ear. They also wounded themselves in the brow and the nose, and pushed an arrow through the left hand. Then, in the land of Gerrhus, the district of the royal tribe on the Borysthenes, a great square sepulchre was excavated, and the dead king placed in the bottom of it, on a bed of brushwood. Lances were thrust into the ground close at hand, and wicker-work placed upon them. One of the wives of the king, his master of the horse, his butler, cook, body-servant, and herald were strangled, and their corpses placed in the grave beside the corpse of the king. The horses of the king also were killed, and thrown with other equipments into the grave. Then the grave was filled up, and a tumulus raised above it to as great a height as possible. But after a year's interval fifty young servants were selected from the retinue of the dead, and fifty horses of the king. These were killed in order to serve as guardians round the tomb of the king. When the soft parts had been removed from the bodies of the horses, and replaced by chaff, the carcases were set upright by means of poles driven into the earth. In the same way the dead youths were fixed upon the horses by poles thrust through the spine.[493]

With the Scoloti war was the most honourable occupation; those who pursued a handicraft were not held in such respect as the rest;[494] the wealthier men had numerous slaves to look after their flocks, and do the work in their tents. The Scoloti usually fought as bowmen on horseback. Their bows were of peculiar[Pg 239] form and curvature;[495] the copper points of their arrows are said to have been poisoned;[496] beside the bow they carried a battle-axe, sabre, dagger, and lance, with a whip.[497] Their corslets and shields are said to have been made of elk's skin. "No man escapes them," Herodotus says; "and no man can overtake them and bring them to hand-conflict, if they do not wish to be overtaken, and their rivers help them." When a Scolote slays an enemy for the first time, he drinks of his blood;[498] he who has slain no enemy receives no wine at the banquet which the chief of the canton gives once in each year, but must sit neglected in a corner; he who has slain many enemies, drinks out of two goblets at once.[499] The Scoloti take the scalps from their slain enemies and hang them on the bridles of the horses, and he who has most of these scalps passes for the bravest. Some take the skins from the dead, and make of them covers for their quivers. Any one who would have a share in the booty must bring to the king the heads of the enemies he has slain.[500] They sacrifice every hundredth man among the prisoners, and keep the rest as slaves. If a Scolote has a quarrel with another, and receives him from the king to put to death, he preserves his skull, even though he may be a near relation. The poorer people cover these skulls with ox-hide; the wealthier have them gilded, and use them as drinking-vessels: if a stranger comes among them, they exhibit these skulls, and boast of them.[501]

According to this description the Scoloti were a people, who, by the pursuit of agriculture at the mouths of their rivers, by some handicraft, by dividing[Pg 240] the land into cantons, by fixing sacred places in the cantons, and by a monarchy governing all the tribes, had advanced beyond the nomadic stage. Hardened by life in the steppes, accustomed to bear hardships, and content with little, the Scoloti are excellent riders, and soldiers of great endurance. The picture which Herodotus has given of their manners displays a certain carelessness, kindliness, and sociability, but these qualities are accompanied by traits of horrid barbarism, cruelty, and blood-thirstiness. They can endure hunger and thirst; they take pleasure in banquets and drinking. The head of the tribe assembles his tribe each year for a feast, at which the brave men drink out of two goblets at once. The nearest relatives place the body of the dead on a waggon, and carry it round among their friends, each of whom provides a banquet, at which food is placed for the dead as well as for the living. When forty days have been spent in this manner, the dead person is buried.[502] When the Hellenes introduced wine among the Scyths—the introduction perhaps took place after the beginning of the seventh century—men and women drank immoderately of it beside their mare's milk, and became violently intoxicated.[503] They also lived in great uncleanliness. The want of water in their steppes made cleanliness difficult, but that was no reason for never washing themselves at all, which Herodotus tells us was the habit of the Scoloti. Only the wealthier sort among the Scoloti had more than one wife; the women were without rights, and belonged to their husbands in just the same way as any head of their cattle: this right of property in the wife even descended to the sons, who had an hereditary claim and[Pg 241] right to their mothers. The execution of the family along with the guilty person; the blinding of slaves, which certainly cannot have been so widely spread as Herodotus maintains; the use of scalps for ornaments; and the custom of drinking out of the skulls of slain enemies, are barbarous practices. The self-mutilation at the death of a king, the strangling of the servants of a dead ruler, and of one of his wives, that they may accompany him into the grave, the setting up of horses and men slain for the purpose as a body-guard round the graves of the kings, are indeed a proof of veneration and honour towards the chief of the nation, but the form which this veneration takes is savage and cruel.

According to the statement of Herodotus, it was after the middle of the seventh century B.C. that the Scoloti first came from the East and reached the northern shore of the Black Sea. This is contradicted by the acquaintance which the Homeric poems show with the milkers of horses beyond the Thracians; by the narrative of Herodotus himself, according to which the Amazons, conquered in old days by Heracles on the Thermodon, fled to the shore of the Mæotis, and found the Scoloti there, and became the mothers of the Sarmatians by the young men of that tribe;[504] and lastly, by the legend of the Scoloti themselves, according to which they were derived from the daughter of the river Borysthenes. According to this they regarded themselves in any case as a tribe settled from all antiquity on the Borysthenes, and with this the statement of Herodotus agrees when he tells us, that the Scoloti maintained that 1000 years had elapsed since the time of their progenitor, the son of the sky-god, and the daughter of the Borysthenes, down to the time of King Darius.[505] Herodotus represents[Pg 242] the Scoloti as driven to the west by the Massagetæ, who dwelt in the east, a tribe which we shall have to seek on the Jaxartes. In this way the Scoloti come into the land of the Cimmerians, who inhabit the north shore of the Black Sea, and the Cimmerians fly before them to Asia Minor. It was shown above that the Cimmerians appeared at the mouths of the Halys about the year 750 B.C., and that soon after the year 700 B.C. they traversed Phrygia, and in the first decade of the seventh century came into collision with the Assyrians and the Lydians (I. 546 ff.). If we cannot contest the fact with Herodotus, that the Scoloti formerly came from the east into the steppes above the Black Sea, his narrative of their actual irruption into the land of the Cimmerians is self-contradictory. When the Scoloti came from the east, the Cimmerians debated on the Tyras, i. e. on the Dniester, whether they should resist or give way; they determined to give way, and fled from this land—not westward to the Danube, but eastward along the shore of the Black Sea to Asia. If they wished, when assembled on the Dniester, to retire before the enemy coming from the east, they must go to the west: Herodotus represents them as going from the Dniester to the east directly in the teeth of the advancing enemy in order to reach Asia Minor round the north and east shores of the Black Sea. From this contradiction we may gather that the Scoloti dwelt for a long time in the steppe to the north of the land of the Cimmerians—i. e. to the north of the shore of the Pontus; that they pressed toward the sea, from a desire to possess themselves of the fruitful region to the south of the forest-tract at the mouths of the Dniester, Bug and Dnieper; and finally overcame the Cimmerians, the ancient population of the coast, and compelled them to seek other dwelling-[Pg 243]places. Only the mountainous district of the Crimea was maintained by the Tauri (p. 230), a tribe of the Cimmerians,—and hence the whole peninsula retains the name Crimea after this nation—while the Scoloti acquired the better land on the coast, about the middle of the eighth century, and became an agricultural people, soon after this time, at the mouths of the rivers and on the plains of the Crimea. The exiled Cimmerians won new abodes on the south shore of the Black Sea, at the mouth of the Halys, and from this point, in repeated predatory campaigns extending through a century, they laid waste Asia Minor as far as the west coast—(what the legends of the Greeks and Herodotus tell us of the manners of the Tauri represent to us the Cimmerians as crafty barbarians)—until they finally succumbed to the arms of the Lydians, and amalgamated with the native tribes of the region into the nation of the Cappadocians (I. 549).

Of what origin, of what tribe were the Sarmatians, the Scoloti, and the people living above them to the north, the Neuri, the Androphagi, and Melanchlæni? According to Aristeas, it was the "one-eyed Arimaspians," who had given the impulse to the movement of the northern tribes to the west. Herodotus maintains that the name Arimaspians means "the one-eyed" in the language of the Scoloti.[506] The explanation is false. The word certainly belongs to the western branch of the Aryan language, i. e. to the family of language prevailing on the table-land of Iran and the regions bordering on it; it means those who have obedient horses (airyamaçpa). If this was the name by which the Arimaspi called themselves, they were a nation of the Aryan race; if it was the name by which the Sarmatians and Scoloti named the nation to the east[Pg 244] of them, the Sarmatians and Scoloti must have spoken an Aryan language. Herodotus further maintains that the Scoloti called the Amazons Oiorpata, and that this name meant "slayers of men."[507] This explanation also is false. In Old Arian (Old Bactrian) Oiorpata would appear as Vayapati; Vayapati does not mean the slayers, but it does mean the lords, of men.[508] It was the masculine employment of the Sarmatian women—their riding, their participation in hunting and warfare, which gained for the women of the Sarmatians the name of "lords of men" among their neighbours, the Scoloti, with whom women were in a very subordinate position. It was indeed this position and these habits of the Sarmatian women which caused the Greeks to unite the Sarmatians and the Amazons, and make the latter the mothers of the Sarmatian race. Thus, for the Greeks, the Amazons who disappeared on the Thermodon could arise to a new life on the steppes of the Don (I. 557 ff.).

The names of the progenitors of the Scoloti, of the three sons of Targitæus; Lipoxais, Arpoxais, and Colaxais (p. 236), appear to contain in the second part of the words the old Arian word kshaya, i. e. prince. The two older brothers strive in vain to win the shining gifts which fell from heaven—the golden goblet, the golden battle-axe, the golden yoke, and the golden plough: it is only the youngest who can take them. In the Avesta the splendour of majesty recedes three times before Yima; the first time Mithra seizes it, then Thrætaona, then Kereçaçpa: the kings of the Avesta sacrifice in order that "the mighty royal majesty may unite with them." The Turanian Frangharçian grasps three times in vain "after the splendour of the majesty of the Arian lands."[509] According to the state[Pg 245]ment of Herodotus the royal tribe of the Scoloti, i. e. the tribe from which Colaxais is sprung, to which the royal house belonged, was called "Paralatai." In old Aryan this name might mean "the advanced" (paradhata) or "the leaders" (pararata). Nor do the names of the gods of the Scoloti contradict the derivation from an Aryan stock. Tabiti, the name of the goddess of the hearth, means in Aryan "the burning," "the illuminating," just as the name of the deity Œtosyrus (perhaps vita-çura, i. e. "strong with the bow") reappears in the Persian name Artasyrus.[510] But if the language of the Scoloti was Aryan, and they were therefore of an Aryan stock, the Sarmatians must have been of the same stock, for the Sarmatians and the Scoloti spoke, as Herodotus told us (p. 232), the same language. And if Herodotus adds that the Sarmatians spoke the language of the Scoloti badly, and their ancestresses, the Amazons, learnt it badly from their husbands, this means no more than that they spoke a different dialect of the same language. Diodorus calls the Sarmatians a branch of the Medes planted on the Tanais; to Pliny the Sarmatians are descendants of the Medes. These statements show a close relationship between the Sarmatians and an Aryan nation.[511] The names and words also, exclusive of those examined, which have been handed down to us as Scolotian and Sarmatian, can mostly be traced back to Aryan roots. The names of the rivers Tanais and Borysthenes (vouruçtana) would mean, in old Aryan, the "outstretched," and "having a broad strand." The names Spargapeithes, Ariapeithes, Ariarathes, in use among the Scoloti, recur in a similar form in Persia. What Herodotus tells us of the rites of the Scoloti, the worship of the hearth-fire as the "queen of the[Pg 246] Scythians," corresponds to the worship of the hearth among the Aryans in Iran, as well as on the Indus. At the same time the different name, the female form of the latter, the names of the other deities in Herodotus, the barbarous worship of the war-god (p. 236), show that the Scoloti must have separated themselves from the community of the Aryans before the eastern branch were in possession of the Punjab, and the middle branch in possession of Iran, and there arrived at the religious conceptions expressed in the hymns of the Rigveda, and in the creed of Iran, as it existed before Zarathrustra. As it was the Scoloti who gave names from their language to the rivers which flowed through their steppes, they must have pastured their flocks on them from an early period. Not less than these names, and the legend of the Scoloti about the antiquity of their nation and its origin from the Borysthenes, does the comparison of the Iranian languages support the conclusion that the Sarmatians and the Scoloti must have broken off from the tribes of Iran at a very early period,[512] and the Scoloti, who are situated further to the west on this side of the Don, earlier than the Sarmatians. If, therefore, we must recognise in the Scolotians and Sarmatians people of Aryan stock and character, their neighbours in the north, the Neuri, the Androphagi, and the Melanchlæni, must count as the fathers of the Sclaves.[513]


[470] "Iliad," 13, 5, 6. Strabo, p. 300, 302. Æsch. "Prom." 11. 1, 2, 416.

[471] Herod. 1, 201; 4, 13, 27. On the confusion of the Araxes and Jaxartes in Herodotus, see vol. v.

[472] Herod. 4, 21, 57, 123. Cf. Strabo, p. 496-498.

[473] Herod. 4, 47-50.

[474] Neumann, "Die Hellenen im Scythenlande," s. 202, 215.

[475] Herod. 4, 47. Neumann, loc. cit. s. 80.

[476] Herod. 4, 53.

[477] Herod. 4, 18, 100, 106, 107, 125.

[478] Tzetzes, "Chil." 7, 144, 163.

[479] "Prom." 285, 802. Yet Æschylus appears to place the Arimaspi in the North-west, and not in the North-east.

[480] Strabo, p. 311.

[481] Herod. 4, 2, 61, 63.

[482] Herod. 4, 114, 122.

[483] Herod. 4, 75. Hippocr. "De Aere," p. 92, ed. Coray. Strabo, p. 307.

[484] Neumann, loc. cit. s. 278 ff.

[485] Herod. 4, 127. Herodotus represents Idanthyrsus as saying, "As my lords I acknowledge only Zeus (the sky-god), my forefather, and Hestia, the queen of the Scythians."

[486] Herod. 4, 59.

[487] Herod. 4, 5. The series of Scythian kings which can be collected from Herodotus is: Protothyas, about 650 B.C.; Madyras, about 630 B.C.; Saulius, about 550 B.C.; Idanthyrsus, about 500 B.C. Herod. I, 103; 4, 76. Beside this succession of kings we may place the pedigree of Anacharsis, who came to Hellas about 580 B.C., and must, therefore, have been born about 610 B.C. His father, Gnurus, was, therefore, born at the latest in 630 B.C.; his grandfather, Lycus, in 650 B.C.; and his great-grandfather, Spargapeithes, in 670 B.C.

[488] Herod. 4, 78, 80.

[489] Herod. 4, 69, 120.

[490] Herod. 4, 69.

[491] Herod. 4, 71, 78.

[492] Herod. 4, 68.

[493] Herod. 4, 71, 72.

[494] Herod. 2, 167.

[495] Cf. Curtius, 10, 1.

[496] Ælian. "Nat. Anim." 2, 16; 9, 15.

[497] Herod. 4, 3, 70.

[498] Herod. 4, 64.

[499] Herod. 4, 66.

[500] Herod. 4, 64.

[501] Herod. 4, 65.

[502] Herod. 4, 73.

[503] Herod. 6, 84; Hippocr., "De Morb.," 4, 13. "De Leg." p. 637.

[504] Herod. 4, 110. Diod. 2, 46.

[505] Herod. 4, 5.

[506] Herod. 4, 27.

[507] Herod. 4, 110.

[508] Müllenhoff, "Monatsber. B.A." 1866, s. 555 ff, 576.

[509] Zamyad Yascht, 56 ff.

[510] Müllenhoff, loc. cit. s. 588.

[511] Diod. 2, 43; Plin. "Hist. Nat." 6, 19.

[512] Müllenhoff, loc. cit. s. 562.

[513] Müllenhoff, loc. cit. s. 567.



[Pg 247]



From modest beginnings, with a land of moderate extent, Assyria, after passing through a training of severe warfare against the immediate neighbours, slowly raised herself by unwearied efforts, and extended wider and wider the circle of her dominion. The end of the twelfth century, the course and close of the ninth century, denote the epochs and the halts in this advance, which are followed in turn by periods of decline. With the middle of the eighth century, with the accession of Tiglath Pilesar II., Assyria, by the subjugation of Babylonia and complete overthrow of Syria, and by reducing Media to a regular payment of tribute, passed beyond any height previously attained. Sargon, Esarhaddon, and Assurbanipal raised Assyria yet higher. She ruled over the land of the Euphrates as far as the mouth of the river; the east of Asia Minor and Cyprus bring tribute; Lydia seeks her support; the pride of Babylon is at last broken; Egypt is conquered and maintained by repeated conquests; Thebes has been pillaged, Susa destroyed, and Elam annihilated.

Hardly fifty years after the full tide of these successes—forty years after the overthrow of the strong opponent on the lower Tigris, the ancient Elam[Pg 248]—Nineveh had fallen. No slow decline, no gradual extinction after a long period of ripening, during which she grew up to the wide extent of her dominion, was the fortune of Assyria:—this iron city of war and conquest, of cruel desolation and bloody punishments, collapsed suddenly. It seems as if the ceaseless efforts of the last century had overstrained and exhausted the power of the State; at any rate, the most thorough establishment of this power in the first half of the reign of Assurbanipal—perhaps the most energetic, and certainly the most fierce and bloody, ruler of Assyria—was quickly followed by its relaxation and fall.

The monuments of Assyria naturally give us no information on the fall of the kingdom; and it is not easy to ascertain the true facts from the Western writers who narrate the extinction of Assyria. The account which Ctesias and Nicolaus of Damascus have preserved of the matter is as follows: Sardanapalus was the thirty-sixth ruler of Assyria after Ninus. He neither carried weapons like his forefathers, nor went to the chase, but he surpassed all his predecessors in luxury and effeminacy. He was never seen outside the palace. He passed his life with the women, shaved his beard, smoothed his skin by rubbing it with pumice-stone, so that it became whiter than milk, painted himself with white lead, coloured his eyes and eyebrows, put on female apparel, and vied with his concubines in adornment, in dressing his hair, and all the arts of courtezans, and lived as effeminately as a woman. He sat among the women, with his legs stretched out before him, wove purple wool with them, imitated the voice of a woman, delighted himself continually with the food and drink most adapted to excite sensual desire, and pursued without shame the pleasures of either sex.[Pg 249]

At the gate of the palace were the satraps of the nations, who led out the forces prescribed for each year (II. 13); among these was Arbaces, the satrap of Media, a man of prudent conduct, experienced in affairs, a good hunter and warrior, who had already performed valiant acts, and aimed at something higher still. When he heard of the life and manners of the king, he was of opinion that Sardanapalus was only ruler over Assyria for lack of a braver man. He was acquainted with Belesys, the viceroy of Babylon, who waited with him at the door of the king. Belesys was of the tribe of the Chaldæans, who were the priests, and enjoyed the greatest respect; the Babylonians were also the most skilful astronomers, and distinguished by experience in matters divine, in the art of the seer, and the interpretation of dreams and wonders. To this man Arbaces imparted his thoughts. Once they conversed in the neighbourhood of the palace, near a manger out of which two horses ate, and, as it was noon, they rested there. Then Belesys saw in a dream that one of the two horses let chaff fall out of his mouth on Arbaces, who also was asleep; and the other horse inquired why he had done this. The first horse replied: "Because he will rule over all those over whom Sardanapalus rules now." Then Belesys roused Arbaces, and invited him to a walk on the bank of the Tigris. Here he said to him: "What would you give me, Arbaces, for the good news, if I told you that Sardanapalus had made you viceroy over Cilicia?" "Why do you mock me?" Arbaces replied; "how is he likely to nominate me, and pass over many better men?" "Still, if such a thing should happen—I know very well what I am saying," replied the other. "Then," said Arbaces, "it would not be the lesser part of this sovereignty that would fall to you."[Pg 250] "But if," continued the other, "Sardanapalus made you satrap of all Babylonia, what would you give me then?" "Cease to annoy me," answered Arbaces; "I am a Mede, and not to be scorned by a Babylonian." "By the great Belus," answered Belesys, "I do not say this in mockery, but instructed by signs." Then Arbaces replied: "If I were satrap of Babylonia, I would make you under-governor of the whole satrapy." Belesys continued: "But if you were made king of the whole empire which Sardanapalus now possesses, what would you do?" "Wretch!" said Arbaces; "if Sardanapalus were to hear this, you and I would perish miserably; how comes it into your mind to talk such nonsense?" But Belesys seized his hand, and said: "By this right hand, which is dear to me, and the great Belus, I am not speaking in jest, but because I know accurately the things divine." Then Arbaces replied: "I would give you Babylonia to rule over, as long as you live, without tribute." And when Belesys required him to join hands over the promise, he gladly gave him his right hand; whereupon Belesys answered: "Be assured, you shall certainly be king." When they had concluded this, they went back to the gate of the king to perform their ordinary service. When subsequently Arbaces became acquainted with Sparameizes, one of the most trusted eunuchs of the king, he besought him to allow him to see the king—he desired eagerly to approach his master to see how he lived. When the eunuch replied that this was impossible, and never permitted, Arbaces at first desisted; but after a few days he repeated his request more urgently, and added that he would requite the favour with much gold and silver. The eunuch, who was of an easy disposition, was overcome, and promised to think of the matter at a[Pg 251] convenient opportunity. Arbaces presented him with a golden goblet. Sparameizes conversed with the king, and the latter permitted the request. Then Arbaces saw Sardanapalus sitting among the women, spinning purple wool with them, and putting white upon his eyes.[514] Arbaces now knew accurately what the king was, and was more inclined than before to realise the prospect which the Chaldæan had opened to him. He entered into a league with the captains of the other nations, and by entertainments and persuasions won the friendship of each. At length he agreed with Belesys that he should himself excite the Medes and Persians to rebellion, while Belesys prepared the Babylonians for a similar attempt, and persuaded the chiefs of the Arabs, with whom he was on friendly terms, to take part in the undertaking. When the year of service was over, and the new troops came in, the troops which had finished service returned as usual to their countries. On this occasion, Arbaces succeeded in persuading the Medes to rebel against the king, and in gaining the Persians for the same object, on condition that they should remain free for the future. In the same way Belesys induced the Babylonians to rise for their freedom, and by ambassadors prepared the chiefs of the Arabians to join in the undertaking. When the year was past they collected the multitude of their warriors together, and marched with their whole force to Nineveh, in order, as they gave out, to set themselves free, but in reality to destroy the empire of the Assyrians. From the four nations mentioned, about 400,000 men were in all collected, and when these were united, the leaders consulted what was to be done. When Sardanapalus received the intelligence of their defection, he led the[Pg 252] forces of the remaining nations against them. A battle took place in the plain: the rebels were defeated; they lost many men, and were pursued as far as the mountains, which lie at a distance of 70 stades from Nineveh; and when they came down a second time into the plain to battle, Sardanapalus drew out his army against them, and sent heralds to proclaim that he would give 200 talents of gold to the man who slew Arbaces the Mede; the man who brought him alive should receive double this sum, and in addition the satrapy of Media. The same promise was made to any one who should slay Belesys, or bring him alive. These messages remained without effect; Sardanapalus attacked, again slew a number of the rebels, and pursued the remainder as far as the camp on the mountains. The rebels, disheartened by two defeats, assembled round Arbaces for consultation; the majority were of opinion that every one should return to his own land, occupy fortified places, and provide everything necessary for war: but Belesys said, that the signs of the gods announced that they would attain their object by toil and disaster, and thus persuaded them all to persist in the dangerous undertaking. In this way it came to a third battle, in which Sardanapalus was again victorious, took the camp of the enemy, and pursued them to the borders of Babylonia. Arbaces fought with the utmost bravery, and slew many of the Assyrians, but was wounded. After so many losses and these repeated defeats, the rebels abandoned all hope, and set themselves to withdraw to their several homes. Belesys, who had kept watch in that night, and observed the stars, told the dejected host that if they would only persist for five days, help would come to them spontaneously, and a great change for the better take place. He was[Pg 253] assured, from his knowledge of the stars, that the gods announced this to them. Let them only remain for so many days, and thus put to the proof the favour of the gods, and his own skill. All were called back to wait for the appointed time, when it was suddenly announced that a large force, sent to Sardanapalus from Bactria, was marching up hastily, and already close at hand. Then Arbaces was of opinion that they must go to meet the Bactrians with the best and bravest warriors, and if they could not be persuaded to join the rebellion, they must be compelled to do so by force of arms. First, the leaders of the Bactrians listened to the proposal for liberation, and then the soldiers also, so that the Bactrians united with the rest. The king of the Assyrians knew nothing of the defection of the Bactrians, and, misled by his good fortune, gave himself over to indolence. He caused a feast to be prepared for his soldiers, with many sacrificial victims, abundance of wine, and other accompaniments. By means of deserters the rebels ascertained the carelessness and intoxication of their enemies, and unexpectedly made an attack in the night. Attacking in good order the disordered, well-armed the unarmed, they gained the camp, slew many, and pursued the remainder as far as the city. The king undertook the defence of the city in person, and transferred the command of the army to Salæmenes, his wife's brother. But the Assyrians were defeated in two battles in the plain before the city; many took to flight, many were driven into the Tigris, when their return to the city was cut off, so that the Assyrian army was almost entirely destroyed. The number of the slain was so great that the river was stained with blood for a great distance in its course. The king was now shut up in the city, and many of the subject[Pg 254] nations revolted to the rebels in order to acquire their freedom. Sardanapalus saw that the kingdom was in the greatest danger; he sent his three sons and two daughters, with much treasure, to Cottas, the viceroy of Paphlagonia, who was the most loyal of his viceroys, and gave with them 3000 talents of gold.[515] At the same time, by sending out messengers with scribes, he gave orders to all his subjects to send forces to his assistance, while he prepared all that was necessary for the siege. He had received an oracle from his forefathers, that Nineveh would never be taken till the river became an enemy to the city. Since this would never happen, he hoped to be able to maintain the city, and waited for the troops sent by his viceroys. The rebels carried on the siege with vigour, but could not do any harm owing to the strength of the walls, and, thanks to the care of the king, the inhabitants of the city had everything that they required in abundance. Hence the only result obtained by two years of siege was that no one left the city. But in the third year it happened that the Tigris, swollen by constant rains, overflowed a part of the city, and tore away the walls for a space of 20 stades. Then the king knew that the river was an enemy of the city, and abandoned all hope of resistance and rescue.[516] In order not to fall into the hands of his enemies, he caused an enormous pyre, about 400 feet high, to be built in the royal citadel. Upon this was erected a chamber of beams 100 feet in length and breadth. Into this chamber were brought 150 golden couches with cushions, and an equal number of golden tables. Then 10 million talents of gold, and 100 million talents of silver, and a quantity of robes of all kinds, of mantles and purple stuffs, were placed on the pyre. Then Sardanapalus took[Pg 255] his place in the chamber on one of the couches with his wife, and on the rest were his concubines. The chamber was roofed with long and massive beams, and when wood had been placed in great quantities round it, so that no one could pass out, the king gave command to light the pile of wood. It burned for 15 days. The people in the city wondered at the smoke rising from the royal citadel; but they believed that the king was sacrificing, for only the eunuchs knew the circumstances. Thus Sardanapalus burnt himself, with all who were in the royal citadel, and, after indulging in pleasure beyond measure, brought his life to a noble end.[517] When the rebels became acquainted with the death of the king, they took the city by forcing their way through the breach in the wall, arrayed Arbaces in the royal robe, saluted him as king, and gave him authority over all. To the captains who had fought with him he gave gifts according to their services, and made them viceroys over the nations. Belesys reminded the king of his services, and the promise to make him ruler over Babylonia. He had also made a vow to Belus in the perils of war, that after the conquest of Sardanapalus and the burning of his royal citadel, he would carry the ashes to Babylon, and make a heap of them near the temple of Belus, on the shore of the Euphrates, which should be to all who navigated the Euphrates an imperishable memorial of the man who had overthrown the empire of the Assyrians. He had ascertained from a eunuch of Sardanapalus how much gold and silver was in the ashes of the citadel. Arbaces, who knew nothing of this, because all besides were burnt with the king, allowed the ashes to be carried away, and gave Belesys[Pg 256] Babylonia free of tribute. But when the theft was known to the king, he made the captains of the army with whom he had fought against Sardanapalus, the judges. Belesys acknowledged his fault, and the court condemned him to death. But the king, who was magnanimous, and wished to distinguish the beginning of his reign, not only forgave Belesys the penalty, but allowed him to keep the gold and silver, which had been already conveyed to Babylon; he did not even take from him the government of Babylon, saying that his former services were greater than his recent fault. When this conduct became known, it brought not only good-will, but glory, to Arbaces among the nations, for all judged him to be worthy of the kingdom who treated those who had served in such a manner. He was also gentle in his treatment of the inhabitants of Nineveh. They were divided into villages, it is true, but each retained his possessions: the city he levelled to the ground. But the gold and silver of the pyre which still remained—and it amounted to many talents—he caused to be carried to Ecbatana in Media.[518] After this Arbaces reigned 28 years, and was succeeded in the kingdom over the Medes by his son Mandaces, who was followed by Sosarmus, Artycas, Arbienes, Artæus, Artynes, Astibaras, and Aspadas. Aspadas was conquered by Cyrus the Persian, and the dominion passed to the Persians.[519]

The account given by Herodotus of the fall of the Assyrian kingdom is different: "When the Assyrians had reigned over Upper Asia for 520 years the Medes were the first to revolt from them, and, as they fought bravely against the Assyrians, they obtained their freedom. After them the other nations did what the Medes[Pg 257] had done. And when all the nations of Asia had become independent, they fell under the dominion of one man in this manner. The Medes dwelt in villages, and as lawlessness prevailed among them, they chose Deioces, the son of Phraortes, a man of ability, whose decisions were most sought after for their justice and equity, to be their king. He caused a palace to be built, and surrounded himself with body-guards, and when this was done he compelled the Medes to build a city in order to keep their attention from his further designs, and a fortress, which is now called Ecbatana. In this way he strengthened his power, and united the Median nation. When he had ruled 53 years, he was succeeded by his son Phraortes. This prince was not content to rule over the Medes only; he marched against the Persians, and was the first to make them subject to the Medes, and with these two nations, both of which were strong, he subdued Asia, advancing from one nation to another, till he finally attacked the Assyrians, who possessed Nineveh, and had formerly ruled over all. Their previous confederates had, it is true, now fallen from them, but they were still in an excellent position. Against these Phraortes now took the field, but he and the greater part of his army were lost in the attempt, after he had reigned for 22 years. He was succeeded by his son Cyaxares. In order to avenge his father Cyaxares collected the warriors from all the nations governed by him, and marched against Nineveh to destroy the city. He had conquered the Assyrians in the battle, and shut up Nineveh, when the great army of the Scythians came down upon him, led by Madyas, the son of Protothyas. These had driven the Cimmerians out of Europe, and entered Asia in pursuit of them, and so came to Media. From the[Pg 258] lake Mæotis to the Phasis and the Colchians it is, for an active man, a journey of thirty days: but from the Colchians to Media the journey is an easy matter, for there is only one nation between the two—the Saspires—when these are crossed you are in Media. But the Scythians did not enter by this route; they took by mistake the upper route, which is far longer, and has the Caucasus on the right hand. Then the Medes and the Scythians encountered each other; and the Medes were defeated in the battle, and lost their dominion; the Scythians traversed all Asia, and then turned towards Egypt. When they had reached Palestine, Psammetichus, the king of Egypt, came to meet them, and by presents and entreaties induced them to come no further. They returned and came to Ascalon. The greater part of the Scythians passed without doing any harm, but the camp-followers plundered the shrine of Aphrodite Urania. These the goddess punished with a loss of their manhood, and not them only but their descendants after them. For 28 years the Scythians were masters in Asia, and overturned everything in their arrogance and contempt. Beside the tribute which they imposed on all, and what they extorted in addition, they wandered to and fro stealing whatever any one possessed. The greater number were massacred by Cyaxares and the Medes, after they had entertained them and made them intoxicated. Thus the Medes won back their dominion, and ruled again over those over whom they had ruled previously, and conquered Nineveh—how they conquered the city I shall relate in another account—and made the Assyrians their subjects, as far as Babylonia."[520] "But the Scythians, who after 28 years returned to their land, were met by a disaster not less than that caused by the Medes. In[Pg 259] the long period during which their husbands had been absent, the Scythian women had lived with their slaves, and from this intercourse a young generation had grown up, who opposed those who returned from Media. Where the Tauric Chersonese abuts on Lake Mæotis, at the point where the lake is broadest, they raised a large dyke, to mark off their territory. When the Scythians wished to enter the territory they encamped opposite them and fought. The battles were many, and the Scythians could not gain the upper hand, till one of them said: 'Our numbers become less in the struggle with our slaves if we fall, and if we continue to slay them we shall have fewer persons to rule over. Let us abandon the javelins and arrows, and take every man his whip, and go against them. So long as they see us in arms they think that they are our equals, and of equal birth; they will then know that they are our slaves, and will not stand their ground.' When this was done the others were terrified, abandoned the struggle, and fled. In this way the Scythians, after they had governed Asia, and had then been again driven out by the Medes, came back into their own land."[521] "Of the nomadic Scythians," so we are further told in another passage of Herodotus, "one tribe separated from the rest, and came into the Median territory, and asked for protection, and Cyaxares received them well, and held them in high estimation—putting boys in their care to whom they were to teach their language, and the use of the bow. The Scythians went out to the chase, and always brought something back. But it happened once that they found nothing, and returned with empty hands. Then Cyaxares, who was quick of temper, as the incident shows, received them harshly and with contempt.[Pg 260] Enraged at the unmerited treatment they received the Scythians resolved to cut in pieces one of the boys given into their charge for education, and, after preparing him as they were accustomed to prepare venison, to set him before Cyaxares as the spoils of the chase, and at once to fly to Sardis to Alyattes. This was done. Cyaxares and those who were at table with him ate of this flesh. When Cyaxares demanded their surrender, and Alyattes refused it, the result was a war between the Lydians and Medes, which continued five years. In this war the Medes were often victorious, and also the Lydians; one battle was fought even by night. In the sixth year, when the armies met, and were already engaged, it happened that the day suddenly changed into night. When the night suddenly came upon them in the daytime, the Medes and Lydians desisted from the battle. On both sides there was an inclination to peace. But those who brought about a reconciliation were Syennesis the Cilician, and Labynetus the Babylonian. Through their instrumentality a peace was set on foot, and an intermarriage took place: they arranged that Alyattes should give his daughter Aryanis to wife to Astyages, the son of Cyaxares, for without some binding necessity treaties were not wont to continue."[522] Cyaxares was succeeded by Astyages on the throne of the Medes. When he had reigned 35 years he was defeated by Cyrus the Persian, and the dominion passed to the Persians after the Medes had reigned over Asia 128 years, beside the period during which the Scythians ruled.[523]

We need not point out how widely these accounts of Ctesias and Herodotus differ from each other. In Ctesias the Assyrian kingdom is in the fulness of vigour, with an unbroken organisation. It is an[Pg 261] effeminate ruler whose weakness rouses the viceroys of two provinces of the kingdom to rebellion, in which this effeminate ruler confronts them with the most masculine energy; and finally succumbs after the bravest resistance and marvellous changes of fortune in the struggle. The empire, the metropolis, the king of Assyria perish simultaneously. The viceroy of Media takes the place of the king of Asshur as the lord of Asia. In the narrative of Herodotus the empire of the Assyrians is first overthrown; in the struggle against this the Medes win back their freedom; the remaining nations, who were subject to the Assyrians, follow their example, and also attain independence. Then out of the anarchy of the Medes there springs up a monarchy, of which Phraortes is the inheritor. He subdues one nation of Asia after the other. When this object has been obtained, he advances to the attack upon the Assyrians, and in the struggle against these he perishes. After this the Scythians conquer the Medes, and overthrow the dominion of the Medes over the nations of Asia, which Phraortes had won. For twenty-eight years they devastate Asia as far as the borders of Egypt, till the Median Cyaxares becomes their master by treachery, and again overthrows the Assyrians and conquers Nineveh. According to this, Assyria did not receive the death-blow till the Medes and the other nations were liberated from her dominion, and the Medes had twice established their supremacy over the rest of the nations.

In Ctesias it is Arbaces who overthrows the kingdom of the Assyrians; in Herodotus it is Phraortes who founds the empire of the Medes, and Cyaxares, the father of Astyages, who conquers Nineveh. The dates of the overthrow, no less than the authors of it, differ widely in Herodotus and Ctesias. In Herodotus,[Pg 262] Cyaxares, the conqueror of Nineveh, reigns 40 years, his son Astyages 35 years. As the latter was defeated by Cyrus in 558 B.C., the reign of Cyaxares, and the invasion and conquest of the Scythians, the re-establishment of the Median kingdom, the war with the Lydians, the marriage of Astyages with the daughter of the king of Lydia, the conquest of Nineveh, must fall in the period between 633 and 593 B.C. On the other hand, according to the dates which Ctesias gives for Aspadas and his predecessors, up to the rebellion of Arbaces, Arbaces destroyed the kingdom and metropolis of Assyria in the year 878 B.C.[524]

Let us first examine each of the two accounts separately. In Ctesias the motives of the actors, the interpretations of dreams and constellations, all the incidents and occurrences, are known. He is acquainted with the conversations which Arbaces and Belesys carry on at the gate of the palace at Nineveh, and in their walks on the banks of the Tigris—and knows how they intend to divide the lion's skin before it is won. The effeminate life and nature of the king of Asshur are described in the strongest traits and with the most minute detail. Yet this effeminate man has a lawful wife, with whom he ends his existence, three sons and two daughters, whom, in his care for their lives, he sends away before Nineveh is shut up. After a life passed in the harem, an effeminate ruler, such as this account describes the last king of Assyria to have been, might, under the pressure of great danger, perhaps put himself to death; but he could hardly have the resolution and the capacity to struggle for three years, with heroic courage and obstinacy, for his kingdom and throne. In the[Pg 263] narrative of Ctesias this effeminate king three times vanquishes his opponents in great battles. The latter are already resolved to abandon their undertaking, when the unexpected desertion of the Bactrians to the enemy again raises their courage. This desertion, the successful surprise of the Assyrian camp, and the overflow and floods of the Tigris, decide against Sardanapalus, who now, as Ctesias himself says, ends his life in a noble manner. This end takes place in a most remarkable way. In a country without wood, in a besieged city, a wooden mountain 400 feet in height is erected, which must have towered high above all the walls and towers, and have been seen from far by friend and foe. Least of all could the inhabitants of Nineveh, who saw the pyre building, be astonished at the rising smoke, as the narrative relates (p. 255). The narrative allows the pyre to go on burning for fifteen days undisturbed, and though the breach is opened before the building and lighting of the pyre, the besiegers quietly wait till it is burned down before forcing their way into the city.

All these contradictions and marvels, combined with the detailed and lively delineation of the life of the king among his women, the full account of the relation of Arbaces and Belesys, their characteristic traits, and the dramatic description of the battle, where victory hangs by a hair, and the preparations for self-incremation, show us that Ctesias has followed a poetical authority in describing the end, no less than the beginning of the Assyrian kingdom,—an authority of the same kind as that which could give us such accurate information about the origin, character, and fortunes of Semiramis, and the war with the Indians. The question about the origin of this authority is easier to answer here than in regard to the former[Pg 264] descriptions. It is a Mede who is brought to honour, whose force and vigour can overthrow a great kingdom, whose courage and bravery are marked in comparison with the ruler of Assyria, no less than his honesty and gentleness puts to shame the treachery and avarice of his Babylonian accomplice. On him, the skilful hunter, the brave warrior, when in his service at the gate he hears of the king's effeminate life, the thought forces itself, that there is need of a brave man. The dream of the horse, which lets chaff fall on Arbaces, belongs decidedly to the conceptions of the Iranian nations, the Medes and Persians. The interpreter skilled in the stars, the Babylonian, knows at once what is the significance of the dream, and hastens to secure his share of the spoil, the satrapy of Babylonia, by a solemn promise taken from Arbaces. The sight of the king in female adornment, painting himself, which Arbaces finally obtains by bribing Sparameizes, decides his resolve. He gains the captains of the troops stationed with him at Nineveh. The war commences. The rebels are defeated even in the third battle, in spite of the heroic deeds of Arbaces and the number of the Assyrians slain by him. He is wounded; the army is compelled to retire as far as the borders of Babylonia. The Babylonian, who, after the second battle, has kept up the courage of the confederates by his astrology, adjures them to remain but five days. In this space of time Arbaces, who goes boldly to meet the Bactrians, succeeds in winning them, in surprising the Assyrian camp, in defeating Salarmenes, and destroying the Assyrian army in the third battle before the gates. The rebels have lost three battles, now they win three. The old oracle is fulfilled: the river becomes hostile to the city. Arbaces takes the place of Sardanapalus. The subtilty and[Pg 265] cunning of the Babylonian, which is brought strongly forward beside his knowledge of the heavens, is contrasted with the uprightness of the Mede. Belesys has deceived him. When condemned to death Arbaces not only gives him his life; he despises the miserable gold, and leaves it to Belesys; he keeps strictly the promise he had once made to him on the Tigris, and the nations of Asia are in consequence compelled to acknowledge that Arbaces is worthy to rule them.

It is a poetical conception which contrasts the simple character and force of the Median servant with the effeminate splendour of the sovereign of Assyria, and which places beside the former, to aid and support him, the astrology and cunning of the Babylonians. But by this contrast the Medo-Persian Epos obtained another advantage; the completion of the whole poem. A masculine woman, Semiramis, had founded the kingdom; an effeminate man brings it to ruin. Herodotus does not know the name of Sardanapalus. But the name was known to the Greeks; before Ctesias wrote it had passed into a by-word—"more luxurious than Sardanapalus."[525] The effeminate traits are marked with extraordinary depth in the narrative of Ctesias; he not only wears woman's clothes, and does woman's work, but he imitates the voice of a woman, and pursues the pleasures of the male and female. Hence we must conclude that as the Median minstrels have used the myth and the form of Istar, a goddess of the Semites, in their delineation of Semiramis; so in their delineation of Sardanapalus, the opposite of Semiramis, they have used the myth of the Semitic god, who exchanges his nature with the female goddess placed beside him, who wears the woman's robe, and spins purple wool, just as his worshippers on certain festivals wore[Pg 266] women's garments (I. 372). But if the god placed by the side of Istar assumed the nature of the woman, as Istar assumed the nature of the man, the masculine nature was not wholly lost to him. Thus the minstrels could represent Sardanapalus as taking up arms at the approach of the danger, and fighting bravely. It is no doubt due to this interchange of the masculine and feminine nature that Hellanicus and Callisthenes maintained that there were two princes of the name of Sardanapalus; the one was noble and active; the other sought his happiness in debauchery.[526] Even in the description of the death of Sardanapalus incidents in the worship of the Syrian goddess seem to have given the type to the Median minstrels. At the great festivals vast pyres were built to the sun-god of the Syrians; a number of precious goods were heaped upon them, which were set on fire together with an image of the god placed upon the pyre, who was supposed to renew his youth in the conflagration.[527] Lucian's statement that a statue of Sardanapalus stood beside that of Semiramis in the temple at Hierapolis can only support the conclusion that traits of the god united with Istar, and of his worship, were employed in the description of Sardanapalus.

To the Greeks Sardanapalus became a prophet of the philosophy which teaches us to exhaust life in enjoyment, because it is short, and nothing remains to a man beyond what the body has enjoyed. Aristobulus, the companion of Alexander, narrates: "Near Anchiale, where the camp was pitched, is a monument of Sardanapalus, on which stands a bronze figure, pressing[Pg 267] together the fingers of the right hand, as though snapping them; the inscription says, in Assyrian letters: 'Sardanapalus, the son of Anakyndaraxes, built Anchiale and Tarsus in a single day. Eat, drink, be merry, the rest is not worth so much,' i. e. a snap of the fingers."[528] These words were worked out more fully among the Greeks, embodied in verse, and given out as an epitaph composed by Sardanapalus for his tomb, and to be found either at Anchiale or Nineveh.[529]

In the narrative of Herodotus also there is more than one difficulty. It is intended, as it states, to show how the nations of Asia, after this liberation from the Assyrians, again came under one master. The Medes, as brave warriors, liberate themselves from the Assyrians, but after this liberation they are found in a condition of utter lawlessness. Without combination of their powers, without union under one strong leader, could the Medes have succeeded in withdrawing themselves from a power so great as the Assyrian power was, even in the description of Herodotus? This lawlessness is brought to an end, not by a mighty warrior, but by a clever, ambitious village-judge, who by his decisions so gains the affections of the Medes, that they elect him to be king. When chosen he knows how to lead them by cunning, or rather to infatuate them into giving him a body-guard and building him a palace. Then he compels them to live together in one city, and, in the course of a long reign, establishes the despotic system of Asia to its full extent, with all its appliances, among the Medes. From this establishment of monarchy among the Medes, re-establishment of the despotic government[Pg 268] spreads over all Asia. Phraortes, the son of Deioces, subjugates the Persians, and then all the nations which obeyed the Assyrians, in order finally to turn upon the latter. Could the Assyrians, who, according to the narrative of Herodotus, "were abandoned by their allies, but otherwise in a good state," at the time when Herodotus attacked them, have looked on at the successes of Phraortes, and quietly waited till they were reached in the series? Would they not rather have attempted in good time to meet the rise of the Medes, which occurred close upon their borders, and threatened them first of all? Phraortes, with the greater part of his army, is slain. To revenge his death, his son Cyaxares invests Nineveh. But the Scoloti have missed their way; they come upon the Medes instead of the Cimmerians, whom they are pursuing; none the less they begin battle with them, overcome them, and obtain the dominion over Asia—which they never desired—from Media to Egypt. After a part of them had suffered punishment from the goddess of Ascalon, they allow themselves to be made drunk by Cyaxares. They are massacred in part, and when they have returned to their own land—of which we are not told whether they ever possessed it before—they have to undergo a severe contest with the sons whom their wives have in the mean time brought forth to their slaves. These sons do not meet them on the Don, i. e. on the border which Herodotus fixes for the land of the Scoloti, but on the Crimea. The returning host bring this struggle, in which they could not conquer by force of arms, to a happy end by raising their whips. After the departure of the Scythians, Cyaxares again obtains the dominion over the nations which his father previously subjugated, and conquers Nineveh. Whether the war of Cyaxares[Pg 269] with the Lydians took place before or after the capture of Nineveh is not clear from the narrative of Herodotus. It is at the least remarkable that Cyaxares, after he has escaped from the yoke of the Scythians by treachery and violence, should not only receive a troop of the same nation into his country, but show them favour, make them his hunters and the educators of Median boys, and then because the Lydian king prevents him from avenging a crime of the fugitives, carry on war for five years with the Lydians, till a sign from heaven puts an end to it. Were Lydia and Media neighbouring countries after Nineveh fell, or before? Had Cyaxares, when at war with Lydia, already recovered the dominion which Phraortes had established for the Medes over all Asia? If this was the case, were there princes of Cilicia and Babylonia in existence, or in such an independent position that they could come forward to negotiate peace and affinity between the contending states, Lydia and Media?

From this examination of the two accounts as to their separate contents, let us now proceed to inquire whether the statements in them agree with what has come down to us from other sources, and can be deduced from the last monuments of Assyria. The narrative of Ctesias is based on the view that the Assyrian kingdom was arranged in satrapies, like the kingdom of the Achæmenids: the inscriptions of the kings of Asshur have made it sufficiently clear that this was not the case. We have already seen that neither the statement of Ctesias about the duration of the Assyrian kingdom, nor that of Herodotus about the strength of their dominion, is tenable (II. 27, 46); not more tenable is the date given by Ctesias for the fall of Assyria. According to Ctesias, Arbaces overthrew the Assyrian kingdom in the year 883 or 878[Pg 270] B.C. (p. 262), and set up the dominion of himself and his descendants, the kings of Media, in the place of the dominion of the Assyrians. But we found above that Assurnasirpal, the son of Tiglath Adar, ascended the throne of Assyria in 883 B.C.—that his campaigns reached the coasts of Syria, that at his time Media was not yet subject to the Assyrian kingdom, that with him the long series of royal princes begins who raised Assyria to the height of her power, and that it was the army of his immediate successors which first trod the land of Media.

Herodotus represents the kings of the Medes as reigning over Asia for 128 years, "deducting the time during which the Scythians ruled."[530] His figures for the reigns of the Median kings, from Deioces to Phraortes, give 150 years from the beginning of Deioces down to the overthrow of Astyages.[531] The overthrow of Astyages took place in the year 558 B.C., and, therefore, Deioces began to reign in 708 B.C. How long before this the Medes liberated themselves from the dominion of Assyria, how long they lived in their free but lawless condition before electing Deioces king, Herodotus does not state. Enough that the Medes must, according to his statement, have liberated themselves in the second half of the eighth century B.C. But at this very time Tiglath Pilesar II. and Sargon ruled over Assyria; [Pg 271]at this time the first advanced to Arachosia, repeatedly imposed tribute on the chiefs and cities of the land of Media (p. 3), while Sargon receives tribute from 22, then from 28, and finally from 45, chiefs of the Medes (p. 101). He boasts to be ruler over Media as far as the distant city of Simaspati, in the East; and the Hebrew Scriptures told us that the Israelites carried away after the capture of Samaria (722 B.C.) were settled in the cities of the Medes (p. 85). But not only did the kings of Asshur receive or compel acts of obedience from the tribes of the Medes at the time when, according to Herodotus' statement, Deioces ascended the throne of Media; Sennacherib (705-681 B.C.) imposes tribute on the distant regions of Media; Esarhaddon removes distant tribes of Media, with their flocks, to Assyria, and subjugates cities which, as he maintains, lie far away in the land of Media (p. 150); and even the inscriptions of Assurbanipal, from the period before the year 650 B.C., speak of a captive chief of the Medes (p. 167). From all this it is clear that the liberation of the Medes took place later than Herodotus states. In his account, therefore, we can only retain the facts that Cyaxares, who, according to his statement, ascended the throne in the year 633 B.C., fought with success against the Assyrians—that the invasion of the Scythians, and their expulsion, the fall of Assyria, the great war with the Lydians, and, finally, the capture of Nineveh, took place in his reign, i. e. in the period from 633 to 593 B.C. (p. 262).

Most remarkable is the sudden incursion of the Scythians into Media, the ground for which is a pursuit wholly without any reason (p. 242), and the missing of the proper route. Let us examine the separate statements about this invasion, in order to come, if possible, nearer to the actual facts. The[Pg 272] incursion of northern nations into Hither Asia at the time stated by Herodotus, i. e. in the second half of the seventh century, is a fact. In the reign of Josiah, king of Judah (640-609 B.C.), the prophet Zephaniah[532] announces a great judgment, which will come not only on Judah, Gaza and Ascalon, Ashdod and Ekron, Moab and Ammon, Egypt and Ethiopia, but also on Nineveh. Hence the prophet cannot have in his eye a punishment coming on Syria and Egypt from Assyria. From the earnest manner in which the prophet exhorts to repentance and improvement, to the purification of the sanctuary, and removal of "the remnant of Baal," the servants of Baal, it follows that this announcement of a coming judgment belongs to the period in the reign of Josiah, which lies before the reform of the worship and the publication of the new law, i. e. to the period from 640 to 622 B.C. (p. 213). Jeremiah speaks more definitely in the thirteenth year of Josiah[533] or soon after, i. e. in or immediately after the year 628 B.C. "I will bring evil from the north, and great destruction. The lion is come up from the thicket, and the destroyer of the nations is on his way." "Evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction."[534] "Lo! a people cometh from the north, and a great nation riseth from the uttermost end of the earth. It is a mighty nation, whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say. They come on like clouds, like a whirlwind are their chariots; their horses are swifter than eagles. They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth as the sea, and they ride on horses set in array as men of war against thee. Their quiver is an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men. Jehovah called the families of the[Pg 273] kingdoms of the north; a burning wind comes from the hills of the desert, besiegers come from a distant land. Lions shall roar against Israel, and shall make his land a desert, his cities shall be burned, empty of inhabitants. Declare ye in Judah and publish in Jerusalem; blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem.[535] Suddenly will the destroyer come upon us, suddenly are the tents spoiled, and the carpets in a moment. Every place shall flee before the noise of the horseman and the archer; they shall creep into thickets and climb up the rocks. Let us go into the strong cities; go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way: for the sword of the enemy and fear is on every side. Our hands are feeble, pain and anguish have taken hold upon us. O my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes. The besiegers come up from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah. As keepers of a field they are against Jerusalem round about. The shepherds and their flocks shall come to Jerusalem, they shall feed every one in his own place. They shall glean the remnant of Israel as a vine, saith Jehovah of Hosts; the land shall be a desert. Nevertheless I will not make a full end."

From this description, taken in combination with the proclamation of Zephaniah against the Philistines, against Ascalon and Egypt, it is clear that the whole of Syria, as Herodotus told us, as far as the borders of Egypt—on which, in his account, the Scythians were induced to turn back by the entreaties and presents of Psammetichus (p. 258)—was overrun and laid waste. It is also clear that Jerusalem and the fortified cities of Syria withstood the invaders, and the storm soon passed by. It is not known whether the[Pg 274] name Scythopolis, given by the Greeks to Bethshan, is in any way connected with this incursion of Scythians.[536] The only other author who knows of this incursion of Scythians into Asia is Pompeius Trogus. With him it is their third invasion. In the first, which they made before the time of Ninus of Assyria, the marshes prevented them from invading Egypt; on their return from these they spent fifteen years in subjugating Asia and imposing a moderate tribute upon the land, the payment of which was brought to an end by Ninus. The second invasion was made in aid of the Amazons, when hard pressed by Heracles and Theseus, at their entreaty. On the third campaign against Asia they were absent eight years, and on their return had to carry on war against their slaves; in this they finally got the victory by their rods and whips, and all the slaves whom they could capture were crucified.[537]

The chronology which can be deduced from the data found in the announcements of the two prophets gives us the period from 640 to 625 B.C. for the invasion of Hither Asia by the Scythians, and this completely agrees with the statements of Herodotus. In order to avenge the death of his father Phraortes, who fell, with the greater part of his army, before the Assyrians, Cyaxares, according to Herodotus, immediately after his accession, i. e. in the year 633 B.C., set out against Nineveh. During his siege of Nineveh, the incursion of the Scythians into Media took place. According to this, Herodotus placed the commencement of the invasion of Media by the Scythians in the year 633 B.C. or 632 B.C. The chronographers, Eusebius and Hieronymus, put the invasion at the same time; they observe, the first at the year 632 B.C., the second at the [Pg 275]year 634 B.C., that "the Scythians forced their way as far as Palestine." Syncellus gives only the general statement, that in the days of king Josiah, Palestine was overrun by the Scythians, and the city of Bethshan taken by them, whence its name.[538]

The name Scythians, as has been already remarked, was applied by the Greeks and Romans in a wider sense to all the nomadic and equestrian tribes of the North; it was a comprehensive title for almost all the whole complex of the northern nations. To which nation of the Scythians, we may ask, did these hordes belong, which in the period just fixed, i. e. between 632 and 625 B.C., invaded and laid waste Hither Asia, from the Caucasus to Egypt? According to Herodotus, they were the ancestors of the Scythians between the Danube and the Don, the Scoloti. Herodotus represents them as invading Asia in their pursuit of the Cimmerians. But what reason was there for the pursuit, when the Cimmerians had voluntarily abandoned the land which the Scoloti desired? Besides, for more than a century before the date at which Herodotus represents them as flying to Asia before the Scythians, the Cimmerians were settled on the Halys, and must have been well known to the nations of Asia Minor; and ever since the emigration of the Cimmerians, i. e. for an equal period, the Scoloti had possessed the old abodes of the Cimmerians on the Pontus. What could have induced the Scoloti to undertake such a pursuit a good hundred years later? What made them miss the way, and come into Media instead of Cappadocia? Herodotus tells us that the Scoloti had taken a far longer route than that which led past Colchis, to Asia, so that they came out in Media, with the Caucasus on the right hand. By this[Pg 276] "upper way," the pass of Derbend, on the Caspian Sea, may be meant, which would have brought the hordes of the North into Media through the land of the Cadusians, who were hostile to the Medes; but if we measure from the banks of the Don, where, according to Herodotus' narrative, we have to conceive the Scoloti as situated in their advance upon the Cimmerians from the East, this route could hardly be described as much longer than that by Colchis. By the upper route Herodotus apparently means the route round the Caspian Sea. The supposed error in the proper route may lead us into the right path, if we assume that the hordes which then invaded Media and inundated Asia were not mounted nomads from the steppes above the Black Sea, on the upper course of the Don, but nomads dwelling beyond the Caspian, in the steppes on the Oxus and Jaxartes. The legendary poetry of East Iran is filled with long and mighty struggles of the ancient heroes with those nations; and Ctesias tells us, again, without doubt, following the minstrelsy of West Iran, of the severe and doubtful wars which the predecessor of Astyages of Media, whom he calls Artæus, and Herodotus Cyaxares, carried on against the Sacæ, the neighbours of the Parthians and Hyrcanians in the steppes on the Oxus. It was these Sacæ who, four centuries after the invasion of Media by Herodotus' Scythians, burst through Parthia and Hyrcania, possessed themselves of the valleys of the Hilmend, the best region in the east of Iran, and gave to this region the name of Sikashtan, i. e. land of the Sacæ, now Sedshestan. On the earlier occasion the Sacæ may have made the same attempt to break into Iran. If nations on the steppes on the Oxus had overpowered Media, if they had also established themselves in Hither Asia, youthful bands of Sarmatians and[Pg 277] Scoloti might have felt tempted to go out from the Pontus and take part in the campaign of plunder. In ascribing the invasion of Asia to the Scoloti, Herodotus no doubt followed the authority of his own people, the Greek settlers on the northern coast of the Pontus. The Cimmerians had once dwelt in these regions, and had retired from them before the Scoloti. It happened that at the time of king Ardys of Lydia (his reign, according to Herodotus, extended from 681 B.C. to 632 B.C.), these Cimmerians made an incursion into the west of Asia Minor from the abodes which they had obtained on the Halys, and forced their way at that time as far as Lydia and the Greek cities on the coast. They took Sardis, except the Acropolis. "It was not a subjugation of the cities," says Herodotus, "but only a passing raid."[539] The narrative of Herodotus proves conclusively that he knew nothing of the earlier incursions of the Cimmerians into the west of Asia Minor, and therefore he assumed that this campaign against Sardis and the cities of the Greeks, in the time of Ardys, was identical in date, and, in fact, the same as the incursion of the Cimmerians into Asia Minor. And as Herodotus also learnt that Cyaxares of Media was overthrown by Scythian hordes who devastated all Asia, and that fugitives of these hordes had also come into the west of Asia Minor to the grandson of Ardys, Alyattes of Lydia, he represents the Cimmerians as being pursued towards Asia, along the Pontus, by their ancient enemies, the Scoloti, who, he thinks, missed their way. He was evidently confirmed in this opinion by the fact that certain families of the Scoloti suffered from a loss of sexual power (p. 258), a disease which the Greeks on the Pontus attributed to the anger of Aphrodite Urania, the goddess of fertility, whose oldest[Pg 278] and most famous temple was at Ascalon, in Syria. Hippocrates says that this disease showed itself among the wealthiest families of the Scoloti, and not among the poor, because the former were always on horseback;[540] according to Aristotle the disease was hereditary in the royal family of the Scythians.[541] Lastly, a story of the slaves of the Scythians, who, in the absence of their masters, had made themselves masters, helped to attribute the invasion of Asia to this nation of the Scythians. The basis of the story, which obviously belongs to the Crimea, lies in the fact that after the Scoloti had forced the Tauri, the ancient inhabitants of the Crimea, into the mountains of this peninsula, and had subjugated and made slaves of those who remained behind in the plains, both the one and the other must have seized a favourable opportunity to make themselves again masters of the peninsula, and close it against the Scoloti by means of a trench. The supposed effect of the whips is due, no doubt, to the Hellenes in Scythia, who thus marked the nature and the existence of slavery.

The liberation of the Medes from the dominion of the Assyrians must not only have taken place later, but in a different manner from that narrated by Herodotus. The inscriptions of the kings of Asshur showed us that the tribes of the Medes whom Herodotus calls Arizantes, Busæ, Struchatæ, Budæans, and Parætaceni, lived separately, under a number of princes. Not long after the settlement of the Israelites in the cities of the Medes, in the year 715 B.C., Sargon represents a prince Dayaukka as carried away captive with his people; and in 713 B.C. he takes the field against Bit Dayauku, and receives tribute from 45 princes of the Medes (p. 101). Hence among the regions of[Pg 279] the chieftains of Media, there was a region which the Assyrians called the land or house of Dayauku, just as with them Israel was Bit Omri. Deioces, the prince from whom Bit Dayauku received its name, who, in Herodotus, is a son of Phraortes, must in consequence have founded a sovereignty in Media, or at any rate have been at the head of a sovereignty derived from his father, about the year 720 B.C. at the lowest. We may without hesitation look for this region in the land of Ecbatana, but at that time it cannot have taken up a large part of Media. Neither the inscriptions of Sargon, nor those of his successors, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Assurbanipal, mention Deioces or his land either in the payment of tribute by the Medes, or in the conquest of the separate tribes. Nothing is said of any central monarchy among the Medes, or of a kingdom of the Medes. If Media had been united and free at the time of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon, Sennacherib would not have marched against Syria and Cilicia, nor Esarhaddon against Egypt; they would not and could not have left in the rear, in the most threatening proximity, the most dangerous enemy. If we nevertheless assume that during the sway of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon over Assyria the influence of Deioces steadily increased, we must concede to Herodotus that this higher position was gained not by martial deeds, but by craft and advice urging union. Then Phraortes, who, according to Herodotus, succeeded his father Deioces in the year 655B.C., must have been able formally to assemble the tribes of the Medes round Bit Dayauku, and to organise them: it was he who united Media under his dominion. But we cannot place this union earlier than the period at which Assurbanipal destroyed Elam, and directed his arms against Arabia (p. 177): i. e. it must come[Pg 280] after the year 645 B.C. Assurbanipal could not possibly employ his troops in repeated campaigns for the maintenance of Egypt, the reconquest of Babylon, the destruction of Elam, and the punishment of the Arabians, if a strong and compact force stood behind the passes of the Zagrus; still less could he look idly on while Phraortes subjugated the Persians, and then one nation after another in Asia, as Herodotus supposes, with the view of throwing himself on Assyria—if he could prevent it. The more probable course of events is, that Phraortes, as soon as he accomplished the union of the Median tribes, had to await and repel the attack of Assyria—that the tribes of the Persians among whom, precisely about this time, Achæmenes obtained the first place,[542] being threatened by the extension of the dominion of Assyria over Elam on their borders, combined with Phraortes for common defence, and consented to be led by the stronger nation. The tradition of the Medes, and their poems, on which the statements of Herodotus rest, would naturally antedate the liberation of their nation, and would place it in the times before Deioces; they would even ascribe conquests to Phraortes, and represent him as falling in an attack on Nineveh. It agrees with the position of affairs and the relation of the powers, that Phraortes should have fallen with the greater part of his army, as Herodotus says, in repulsing Assyria and Assurbanipal in the year 633 B.C. The first duty of his son Cyaxares must have been to avert from Media the consequences of the heavy defeat which destroyed his father. That Cyaxares, and not Phraortes, a century after the death of the latter, passed in the nation of the Medes as the founder of the Median supremacy, is clear from the fact that[Pg 281] Phraortes, the head of the rebellion of the Medians against Darius, lays aside his proper name in order to call himself "Kshatrita, descendant of Cyaxares," and that at this time the leader of the Sagartians also gives himself out as a descendant of Cyaxares of Media.

Let us first cling to the fact that in the decade which followed the conquest of Elam by Assurbanipal (644-634 B.C.) Media united her tribes under a sovereign, and freed herself from the dominion of Assyria, and in combination with the Persians on the East obtained the position of a considerable power beside Assyria. In the West, before this date, Assurbanipal had already lost the dominion over Egypt, and the advance of Psammetichus towards Syria (p. 180) must have made the obedience of the Syrian cities and princes doubtful. The rise of the Medes under Phraortes, the successful resistance which they made to Assyria, must have had a far-reaching influence. After such a long series of successes the arms of Assyria could not prevail against this new power. In Judah, where the prophets of the Hebrews from the second half of the eighth century had looked on Assyria as the instrument of Jehovah for the visitation of the nations and the punishment of the sins of Israel and Judah, the position of that power, soon after the year 640 B.C., was seriously shattered or threatened, since the prophet Nahum, when looking back on the destruction of Thebes by the army of Assurbanipal, could already announce that the line of destruction would reach even to Assyria and Nineveh. The lively description of the defenders and the devastation of Thebes, shows that the capture (which had taken place in the year 663 B.C.)[543] was already fresh in the remembrance of the Syrians.[Pg 282] "The lion," so we find it in Nahum, "did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, and strangled for his lionesses, and filled his holes with prey, and his dens with ravin. I am against thee, saith Jehovah of Hosts, and I will burn thy chariots in the smoke, and the sword shall devour thy young lions; and I will cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messenger shall no more be heard. I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will show the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame. I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile. Woe to the well-favoured harlot, the mistress of witchcraft; woe to the bloody city; it is full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not. The noise of the whip, and of the rattling of the wheels, and of the prancing horses, and of the jumping chariots; the horseman cometh on, the bright sword and glittering spear." "Art thou better than No-Ammon (Thebes) that was situate by the Nile?"[544] "The destroyer is come up before thee, Nineveh; keep the munition, watch the way, gird thy loins, fortify thyself mightily. Draw thee water for the siege, fortify thy strongholds; go into clay, and tread the mortar, make strong the brick-kiln. Thy mighty men hasten to the walls, but they stumble in their walk. The covering shall be prepared for the besiegers. All thy strongholds shall be fig-trees with the first ripe figs; if they be shaken they shall fall even into the mouth of the eater. Fire shall devour thee, and the sword shall cut thee off."[545] "With an overrunning flood Jehovah will make an utter end of her habitations; the gates of the river shall be opened, and the palace dissolved. Behold, thy people are women for thy enemies; the gates of thy land shall be set wide open; the fire shall devour thy bars. Nineveh[Pg 283] was full of men while she stood, but they flee. Halt! halt! Yet no one turneth; her maids sigh like doves, and beat the breast. Take the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold; there is no end of the store; abundance of all kinds of costly vessels. She is empty, and void, and waste, and the heart melteth, and the knees smite together, and a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; there is no end of their corpses. They stumble on the corpses. Thy captains fly, O king of Assyria, thy mighty men slumber, thy people is scattered on the mountains, and no man gathereth them. Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feeding-place of the young lions, where the lion, and the lioness, and the lion's whelp walked and none made them afraid? No more of thy name shall be sown; there is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous. All that look on thee shall flee from thee and say, Nineveh is laid waste; all that hear of thee shall clap their hands over thee, for upon whom has not thy wickedness passed continually?"[546]

How far the successes which Cyaxares obtained soon after his accession (633 B.C.) in repelling and attacking Assyria and Assurbanipal carried him—whether even then the army of the Medes advanced to the walls of Nineveh, as Herodotus states, cannot be ascertained, and cannot be denied. Whatever advantage Media may have obtained at that time it was not only lost, but the Median empire collapsed, when Cyaxares had vainly attempted to repulse the Sacæ (632 B.C.). These Sacæ, however, were not content with the possession of Media; they descended from the table-land of Iran into the valley of the Tigris and the Euphrates, and spread over Hither Asia. We saw how clearly the prophet Zephaniah announced in those[Pg 284] days (about 630 B.C.) the great judgments that would come upon Nineveh and Judah, on Gaza and Ascalon, on Ashdod, and Ekron, and Ethiopia. "Jehovah," he says, "will stretch out his hand against the North, and destroy Assyria, and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness. And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations; the pelican and the bittern shall lodge in the lintels of it; the birds shall sing in the windows of it; desolation shall be on the thresholds. The cedar work is torn down. All who go by shall hiss and wag the hand. This is the rejoicing city which dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am and there is none beside me! How is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in!"[547]

Assurbanipal, as we saw, ascended the throne of Assyria in the year 668 B.C., and he retained it till the year 626 B.C. Though we have no evidence from Assyrian inscriptions to fix the end of his reign, the canon of Ptolemy puts the end of the dominion of Saosduchin (by whom is meant Samul-sum-ukin) in the year 648 B.C., i. e. in the year in which Assurbanipal crushed his rebellion and took Babylon. We also possess an Assyrian tablet which dates from the twentieth year of Assurbanipal in Babylon, and consequently extends his reign in the city from 648 B.C. to 628 B.C. Further, the canon of Ptolemy represents a new reign as commencing in Babylon in the year 625 B.C., and therefore we are certain that Assurbanipal remained on the throne for 42 years, down to 626 B.C.[548] The first half of his reign was filled with the most brilliant successes; his armies marched to Thebes, Babylon,[Pg 285] and Susa; but the second half was the reverse of the first. Egypt was lost. Serious struggles without results were carried on against the Medes, though they were once varied by a great victory. The Median power advanced nearer and nearer to the native land and the chief cities. The Medes had indeed been compelled to turn against the Sacæ; but these not only overthrew Media, they covered Asia, destroyed the cohesion of the Assyrian kingdom, and entirely disorganised it. Cleitarchus narrated: "Sardanapalus (Assurbanipal) died in old age, after the dominion of the Syrians had been broken down;"[549] and the Syrians, according to the usage of Cleitarchus, are the Assyrians.

Ctesias told us above, that the dominion of the Assyrians succumbed to the united efforts of the viceroys of Media and Babylon, the combined efforts of the Medes and Babylonians. Herodotus, as we saw, represents a prince of Babylon as negotiating peace between Lydia and Media. In an excerpt of Abydenus which has been preserved we read: "After Sardanapalus (Assurbanipal), Saracus reigned over Assyria: when he found that multitudes of a collected horde came up from the sea like locusts, he at once sent Busalossorus as commander of the army to Babylon. This officer resolved on rebellion, and betrothed his son Nabukodrossorus to the daughter of Astyages, king of Media, Amuhea by name."[550] According to the excerpt of Syncellus, Alexander Polyhistor gave the following account: Saracus sent Nabopolassar as general, but he married Amyite the daughter of Astyages, the satrap of the Medes, to his son[Pg 286] Nabuchodonossor, and rebelled against Saracus and Nineveh.[551] Hence in Abydenus and Polyhistor, the successor of Assurbanipal on the throne of Assyria was Saracus. Against hosts who came from the sea, i. e. against the hosts of the Sacæ coming up from the Caspian Sea, or marching, on their return from Syria, i. e. from the Mediterranean, against Babylon, he sends the general whom Abydenus calls Busalossorus, and Polyhistor Nabopolassar. According to the canon of Ptolemy, the reign of Nabopolassar in Babylon begins in the year 625 B.C. This prince, the Nabopolassar of the canon and Polyhistor, is not distinct from the Busalossorus of Abydenus. It is the same name: in the one writer he is the father of Nabukodrossorus, in the other the father of Nabuchodonossor. Nabukodrossorus is Nabukudurussur; Nabuchodonossor is Nebuchadnezzar, the corrupted Hebrew form of the name Nabukudurussur. The Belesys of Ctesias, the confederate of the Mede, is Nabopolassar. In both fragments Nabopolassar, whom the king of the Assyrians sends as a viceroy or general to Babylonia, and whose rule over Babylonia begins with the year 625 B.C., resolves to rebel against the king of Assyria; with this object he enters into a league with the king or satrap, i. e. the Assyrian viceroy of Media, who in Abydenus and Polyhistor is called Astyages.[552] In both fragments Nabopolassar marries his son Nebuchadnezzar to Amuhea or Amyite, the daughter of the Mede. Astyages was the son of Cyaxares of Media, who began to reign in the year 593 B.C. Hence in both fragments the father must be put in the place of the son, just as in Herodotus the Nabopolassar of Polyhistor must be put in the place of Labynetus.[Pg 287]

The invasion of the Sacæ certainly gave the most severe blow to the Assyrian kingdom: it reached the native territory, and broke the cohesion of the kingdom. The lands previously subjugated could not be protected, and therefore could not be maintained. We found above, that about the year 625 B.C., the Sacæ marched through Syria to the borders of Egypt. It is also certain, from the canon of Ptolemy, that it was the king of Assyria who succeeded Assurbanipal on the throne in 626 B.C., who named Nabopolassar his viceroy in Babylon, in order to protect Babylonia against the Sacæ. Nabopolassar cannot have entered into a league with Cyaxares of Media; Babylonia cannot have broken with Assyria; the rebellion against Saracus cannot have taken place, till Cyaxares was again master in his own land and the Sacæ were driven out of Media, whether this expulsion took place as recorded in Herodotus or in some other way. That Nabopolassar felt himself called upon to draw the league with Media as close as possible is clear from the fact that he at the same time married his son to the daughter of the king of Media. And he not only brought about this marriage, he did away with the war between Media and Lydia, and established an alliance between the royal families of the two nations. This war must be placed before the destruction of Assyria; had it not been necessary to set the forces of Media free against Assyria, the prince of Babylon would have had no interest in reconciling the differences between Lydia and Babylonia. After the destruction of Assyria it would have been much more advisable for Babylon that Media, whose power surpassed that of Babylonia, should be engaged elsewhere. This conclusion is confirmed by the eclipse which separated the armies of the Lydians and the Medes in[Pg 288] the sixth year of the war, in the middle of a battle (p. 260). This took place in the year 610 B.C.[553] The war between Cyaxares of Media and Alyattes of Lydia must therefore have begun in the year 615 B.C.

But what caused Media to be at war with the distant land of Lydia? We must assume that Cyaxares first succeeded in setting his land free from the hordes of the Sacæ. He availed himself of this to give aid to the lands bordering on the west of Media, the Armenians and Cappadocians, against the same plundering tribes; to exhibit himself there as a liberator from the Sacæ; and, at the same time, as a liberator from the dominion of the Assyrians. In this way he quickly advanced the borders of Media to the Halys. Here he came upon the Lydians, who on their part had made use of the convulsion and confusion which had been caused by the advance of the Cimmerians as far as the western shore of Asia Minor, to extend their dominion over Phrygia as far as the Halys. As the[Pg 289] war between him and the Lydians commences in the year 615 B.C., Cyaxares must have mastered the Sacæ in Media as early as the year 620 B.C. The dominion of the Scythians in Asia, which Herodotus represents as lasting 28 years, is thus narrowed down to a short ten years—or indeed to eight years, the number given by Justin. From this point—the liberation of Media from the Sacæ, i. e. about 620 B.C.,—we have to fix not only the advance of Cyaxares to the West, but his league with Nabopolassar of Babylon, and the marriage of his daughter to Nabopolassar's son must be put about the same time. When Nabopolassar had arranged the peace between Media and Lydia, which fixed the Halys as the border of the two kingdoms, Aryanis, the daughter of Alyattes, is married to the son of Cyaxares (610 B.C.), Media and Babylonia, Cyaxares and Nabopolassar, unite their forces against Assyria.

On the ruins of Chalah, in the south-east corner of the terrace, on which stand the palaces of the kings of Asshur, to the south of the ruins of the house of Samsi-Bin III. (II. 325), are the remains of a not very extensive building; some bricks bear the inscription: "I Assur-idil-ili, king of the nations, king of the land of Asshur, son of Assurbanipal, king of the nations, king of the land of Asshur, son of Esarhaddon, king of Asshur. I caused bricks and beams to be prepared for the building of the house of salvation, situated at Chalah: for the life of my soul I did this."[554] Another inscription of Assur-idil-ili mentions his restoration of the temple of Nebo at Chalah.[555] Hence we must assume that Assur-idil-ili, the son of Assurbanipal, ascended the throne of Assyria after the death of his father, in the year 626 B.C.; that it is he who is called Saracus in Polyhistor, who appointed[Pg 290] Nabopolassar viceroy of Babylonia, in order to maintain Babylon against the Sacæ; and that about the year 620 B.C. the latter broke away from Assur-idil-ili. Yet from a broken tablet of Assur-idil-ili, recently discovered, we shall gather that he did not ascend the throne immediately after his father's death, but later;[556] and the opinion is held that the immediate successor of Assurbanipal was Bel-zakir-iskun, whose name occurs in a cylinder found at Kuyundshik. The name of the father of this king is broken off; and he is only placed immediately after Assurbanipal because he styles himself, not only king of Assyria, but also king of Sumir and Accad.[557] But are there not numerous instances to prove that titles of dominion are retained after the lands which they denote as subject have long been lost? Lastly, in two fragmentary tablets the name of Cyaxares is supposed to be concealed in the form Castarit. The first fragment mentions Esarhaddon and Castarit, the lord of the city of Carcassi, beside Mamiti-arsu, the lord of the city of the Medes. At the very earliest, Cyaxares of Media cannot have been born when Esarhaddon died. The second fragment speaks of a hundred days of prayer and thanksgiving, because Castarit with his warriors, and the warriors of the Cimmerians, and the warriors of the Mannai, had taken the towns of Khartam and Kissassu. But here also the inscription seems to be speaking of another period, and indeed of conflicts from the days of Esarhaddon, when the Cimmerians set foot on the southern shore of the Black Sea; and I would not, on this account, allow myself to be led astray, even if a third tablet, supposed to narrate the same circumstances, should mention Castarit as a prince of the Medes.[558][Pg 291]

Of the incidents of the war, which Cyaxares and Nabopolassar commenced in the year 609B.C. against Assyria, we have no account. According to the songs of the Medes, which lie at the base of the account of Ctesias, it continued three years; many severe battles were fought, with varying fortune, before Nineveh could be invested. The capture of the city was finally achieved, because the Tigris carried away a portion of the city walls. When Xenophon marched past Chalah, which he calls Larissa, 200 years after the fall of Nineveh, and found long strips of wall 120 feet high still standing, he was informed that the king of the Persians, when he took the dominion from the Medes, could not by any means capture the lofty and strong walls of this city of the Medes (II. 16). A cloud hid the sun, and made the city invisible till the inhabitants had left it; and thus it was taken. At that time the queen of the Medes fled to Mespila (the name given by Xenophon to Nineveh), where he saw the walls still standing of the height of 150 feet. This city the king of the Persians could not take, either by length of siege or by storm, till Zeus had dazed the inhabitants by lightning: then the city was taken.[559]

The memory of the Assyrian kingdom had at that time so entirely disappeared, that Xenophon's guides could put the Medes in the place of the Persians, the Persians in the place of the Medes, and the king of the Persians in the place of Cyaxares. In Abydenus we are told, after the excerpt of Eusebius: Nabopolassar (Bussalossorus), after marrying his son to the daughter of the king of the Medes, marched against Nineveh. "When Saracus heard of this, he burnt himself and the royal citadel."[560] Polyhistor, following the excerpt of Syncellus, tells us: Nabopolassar, sent[Pg 292] out by Saracus as a leader of his army, turned against his master, and marched against Nineveh. In fear of his approach, Saracus burnt himself with his palace.[561] Strabo tells us: "Nineveh was destroyed soon after the break up of the dominion of the Medes."[562] At the year 607 B.C., Eusebius and Hieronymus observe: "Cyaxares the Mede destroys Nineveh."

"Because Asshur was high of growth," such are the words of Jehovah in the prophet Ezekiel, "and shot up his top, and his heart was lifted up in its height, I have delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the nations that he may deal with him at his pleasure; I have driven him out for his wickedness. And strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off and cast him away. Upon the mountains and in all vallies his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the rivers in the land. All the people from the earth are gone down from his shadow and have left him. Upon his fallen trunk the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches. I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with those that descend into the pit. In that day I caused a mourning, and restrained the floods round him; the great waters were stayed; I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field lamented him. Asshur's grave is made in the depth of the pit, round about are the graves of his host; all of them slain, fallen by the sword, which caused terror in the land of the living."[563]

Media stood triumphant over the kingdom which had so long ruled over Hither Asia and the western edge of Iran; Babylon was victorious over the branch[Pg 293] which had grown up out of her own root, had far surpassed the mother-stem, and had struck home the mother-country in many a tough struggle. Babylon had suffered far more heavily than Media. At last retribution had come. Chalah and Nineveh, which had received the tribute of the nations for so many years, which had seen so many vanquished princes, so many embassies of subjugated lands in their walls, were annihilated. And not the ancient cities only, but the condition of the Assyrian nation must have been severely smitten by this war of annihilation. Often as Babylon had been overthrown by the Assyrians—even though mastered by Cyrus—she still was able to rise repeatedly in stubborn rebellion against the Achæmenids: Elam repeatedly attempted to regain her old independence; but of the native land of Assyria, which after the fall of Nineveh became a part of Media, and passed with Media under the dominion of the Persians, we hear only once that the Assyrians, with the Armenians, rebelled against king Darius. But the picture of Behistun, which mentions the double rebellion of Babylon, the three rebellions of Elam against Darius, and exhibits the conquered leaders of these nations, is silent on the rebellion of the Assyrians and Armenians: it was not of enough importance to be mentioned.

The low ruin heaps of Nineveh (Kuyundshik, Nebbi Yunus, and Khorsabad), of Chalah (Nimrud), and Asshur (Kileh Shergat), washed down as they are by streams of rain, have yet preserved for us the remains of the buildings and palaces of the kings of Asshur, from the days of Samsi-Bin I., Tiglath Pilesar I., Shalmanesar I., down to Assur-idil-ili. Set on fire at the time of destruction, the wooden roofs of the palaces were reduced to cinders, and fell in upon the floor of[Pg 294] the chambers, where portions of them are still to be found. The upper parts of the brick-walls were then washed down by wind and rain, and covered the lower part of the rooms. Even where the fire did not spread, the beams of the roofs at length broke down, the upper layers of the bricks on the walls were gradually washed down, and raised the floors of the chambers, as well as the ground immediately surrounding them. By this process the palaces of Nineveh, Chalah, and Dur Sarrukin, were changed into heaps of earth. But while the upper part of the buildings buried the lower in their ruins, the lower part, with all the inscriptions and sculptures contained in it, was saved from further destruction; and these unsightly heaps have preserved to us the civilisation and the characteristics of the Assyrians, as truly as the lofty monuments and rock tombs on the Nile have preserved the picture of ancient Egypt, though they do not present the same breadth, and extend in the same way to every side of life.


[514] Nicol. Dam. Frag. 9, ed. Müller. Athenæus, p. 529. Diod. 2, 24.

[515] Athenæus, p. 528.

[516] Diod. 2, 24-27.

[517] Athenæus, p. 529.

[518] Diod. 2, 28.

[519] Diod. 2, 32-34.

[520] Herod. 1, 95, 96.

[521] Herod. 4, 1-4.

[522] Herod. 1, 73, 74.

[523] Herod. 1, 130.

[524] Or, as in Ctesias the victory of Cyrus over Astyages is placed in 564 B.C.—even in the year 883 B.C. Cf. Vol. II., p. 26.

[525] Aristoph. Aves, 102.

[526] Hellan. Frag. 158. Callisth. Frag. 32, ed. Müller.

[527] Movers, "Relig. der Phœniker," s. 154. 394, 465, 496, 612. The pyre which Alexander caused to be erected in Babylon to Hephæstion, after the Semitic pattern, was four stades in circuit and 200 feet in height. Diod. 17, 115.

[528] Aristob. Frag. 6, ed. Müller. Cf. above, p. 145, 146.

[529] e. g. Diod. 2, 24; Amyntas in Athenæus, p. 529.

[530] If we assume that the 28 years of the Scythian dominion have already been deducted from the 128 years, and must therefore be added to them, 714 B.C. (= 558 + 156) is the beginning of the Median dominion. In the other case this must have commenced in the year 658 (558 + 100) B.C. Since Herodotus represents Phraortes as first conquering Asia, and represents him as ascending the throne in 655 B.C., the duration of the Median empire is not even 100, but only 79 years. We shall soon see that it was even shorter.

[531] Deioces reigned 53 years, Phraortes 22, Cyaxares 40, Astyages 35. Each pair of rulers makes up a total of 75 years.

[532] Zeph. i. 1.

[533] Jerem. i. 1; xxv. 3.

[534] Jerem. iv. 6.

[535] Jerem. vi. 1.

[536] 2 Maccab. xii. 29. Strabo, p. 763; Joseph. "Antiq." 5, 1, 22, etc. Pliny, "Hist. Nat." 5, 16; Steph. Byzant. Σκυθόπολις.

[537] Justin, 1, 2-5.

[538] Syncell. "Chron." p. 405, ed. Bonn.

[539] Herod. 1, 6, 15, 16.

[540] Hippocr. "De aero," c. 22.

[541] "Ethic. Nicom." 7, 7 (8).

[542] Vol. V., chap. 3.

[543] Above, p. 164.

[544] Nahum iii. 8.

[545] Nahum ii. 13, 14; iii. 1-5, 12-15.

[546] Nahum i. 8, 14; iii. 7-12; iii. 7, 13.

[547] Zeph. ii. 13-15.

[548] In Polyhistor Sardanapalus reigns over the Chaldæans for 21 years after Samuges.

[549] In Athenæus, p. 553.

[550] Euseb. "Chron." 1, p. 37, ed. Schöne. Kiepert, "Monatsb. B. A.," 1873, s. 191.

[551] Syncell. "Chron." p. 210, ed. Bonn.

[552] Asdahag is the Armenian form in the Armenian Eusebius.

[553] As we have the choice between the two eclipses of 610 and 584 B.C. the preference must be given to that of 610 B.C. Where the battle was fought between the Medes and Lydians we do not know; but we do know that in the year 584 B.C. Cyaxares and Nabopolassar were no longer alive. If we replace these names by Astyages and Nebuchadnezzar—although the children of the princes who conclude peace and alliance are expressly named as the parties contracting in marriage—and Astyages had no son, Nineveh had fallen long before 584B.C., and Babylonia would not have had the least interest in bringing about a peace between Lydia and Media. On the contrary, Nebuchadnezzar, who had erected such enormous fortifications against Media, in order to secure his own weaker kingdom against any attacks of the Median power, would only have been too glad to keep Media engaged in the West by the continuance of the Lydian war. Yet that it was a question of the rescue of Lydia in the interest of Babylonia cannot be supported in the face of the assertion of Herodotus, that the fortune of arms was equal. As the dates given by Herodotus for the reigns of the Lydian kings have to be replaced by those of Eusebius (below, Chapter 17), the dating of the beginning of the war at the year 615 B.C. would allow the first three years to fall in the reign of Sadyattes; but in this there is no difficulty.

[554] E. Schrader, "K. A. T.," s. 233.

[555] G. Smith, "Disc.," p. 344.

[556] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 382.

[557] G. Smith, loc. cit. p. 382.

[558] Sayce, "Babylon. Litterature," p. 79, seqq.

[559] "Anab." 3, 4, 7-9.

[560] Euseb. "Chron." I., p. 37, ed. Schöne.

[561] Syncell, "Chron." p. 396, ed. Bonn.

[562] Strabo, p. 737.

[563] Ezek. xxxi. 11-16; xxxii. 22, 23.



[Pg 295]



According to the account of Herodotus, a blind man from the city of Anysis, and bearing the same name as his city, ruled over Egypt at the time when Sabakon marched through the country. He retired before the Ethiopians into the marshes, and fled to an island called Elbo. The island measured ten stades in every direction, and thither, in obedience to his command, the Egyptians by turns secretly brought him nourishment. When fifty years had expired from the time that he made himself master of Egypt, Sabakon saw in a dream a man who bade him summon all the priests of Egypt, and cause each to be cut into two pieces. Then Sabakon said that the gods had announced to him by this vision that he would by some evil deed bring upon himself severe punishment from the gods or from men. Such a deed he would not commit: the time had passed which was allotted to him for the rule of Egypt; an oracle in Ethiopia had announced to him that he would rule over Egypt for fifty years. As this period was now completed, Sabakon voluntarily retired from Egypt, the blind man returned from the island of Elbo, and reigned as before. He was followed by the priest Sethos, against whom[Pg 296] Sennacherib, the king of the Arabians and Assyrians, marched, but the god of Memphis saved him by sending field mice into the camp (p. 141). After the death of Sethos the Egyptians became free, but as they could not live without a king they elected twelve kings, and divided Egypt into twelve parts. These twelve kings contracted family alliances with each other, and agreed that none of the twelve should seek greater possessions than another, or attempt to crush the others, but that all should be on the best terms with each other. They then determined to leave behind a common memorial, and with this object built the labyrinth on Lake Mœris, and ruled with justice. In the course of time it happened that the twelve kings were sacrificing together in the temple—for they came in a body to all sacrifices—and when at the close of the sacrifice they poured libations, the high priest brought only eleven of the golden goblets from which they were wont to pour libations, instead of twelve. The last in the list at this sacrifice was Psammetichus of Sais, whose father Necho had been killed by Sabakon. He had himself fled to Syria, to escape Sabakon, but after the retirement of the Ethiopians he had been brought back by the inhabitants of the canton of Sais. As no goblet was left for him, he took the brazen helmet from his head and poured the libation from that. Then the rest of the princes remembered a prophecy given to them at the very beginning of their reign,—that whosoever among them should pour a libation out of a brazen goblet should be king over all Egypt. Mindful of this oracle the kings were not inclined to punish Psammetichus with death, because they found on inquiry that he had not used his helmet with premeditation; but they took from him the greater part of his power, confined him to the[Pg 297] marshes, and bade him not to leave them or trouble himself about the rest of Egypt. Perceiving that injustice was done to him, Psammetichus bethought him how to avenge himself on those who had driven him out; and when he inquired of the oracle of Buto he received the answer, "Vengeance would come from the sea, when the brazen men appeared." Psammetichus did not believe the oracle. But Ionians and Carians, who had taken ship for plunder, were driven out of their course to Egypt. When they got on the shore in their brazen armour, an Egyptian announced to Psammetichus that brazen men who were come from the sea were laying waste the plains. Then Psammetichus saw that the oracle was fulfilled. He received the Ionians and Carians in a friendly manner, and induced them by great promises to stay with him. And with these, and the Egyptians who were on his side to help him, he conquered the rest of the kings, and became lord over all Egypt.[564]

Diodorus gives us a similar account. He celebrates the gentle and wise rule of the Ethiopian Sabakon, and then continues. "His piety is shown by his conduct in consequence of a dream, and his resignation of the throne. The god of Thebes appeared to him in a dream, and said that he could not govern Egypt prosperously and for long unless he collected all the priests and cut each into two parts, and marched between the parts with his body-guard. As this dream appeared frequently, he summoned the priests, and said to them, that he should displease the god if he remained longer in the land, or he would never have advised such an act in a dream. He preferred to retire while pure from that guilt, and leave his future to fortune rather than to rule over all Egypt[Pg 298] by outraging the god, and staining his own life by wicked murder. Then he resigned the government of Egypt to the Egyptians, and retired to Ethiopia. But as the people were unquiet, and domestic strife broke out, the most distinguished princes, twelve in number, met at Memphis, and made a league, and swore to remain friendly and faithful to each other, and made themselves kings. In pursuance of this agreement they reigned for fifteen years in harmony, and formed the resolution, that as in their lives they shared equal honours, so after death their bodies should rest in the same place, and that a sepulchre built in common should preserve the common fame of the kings buried there. The size of this structure, for which they selected a site on Lake Mœris, was to surpass the works of all the kings before them. But one of them, Psammetichus of Sais, who was lord of the coast, secured an extensive trade to all merchants, especially to the Phenicians and Greeks. By the sale of the products of his canton and his share in that which the foreigners brought he not only obtained greater resources, but he won the friendship of these nations and their princes. Roused by envy the rest of the kings made war upon Psammetichus, who obtained necessaries from the Ionians and Carians, and conquered in the battle near the city of Momemphis. Of the kings, his opponents, some fell in the battle, others fled to Libya, and were no longer in a position to contest the throne. Thus after fifteen years the sovereignty in Egypt again came into the hands of one man."[565]

We saw that the real course of affairs differed widely from the accounts given by the Egyptians, from which come the narratives of Herodotus and Diodorus. Manetho's list, at any rate, does not conceal the fact[Pg 299] that after king Bocchoris had succumbed to the incursion of the Ethiopians, three kings of Ethiopia ruled over Egypt in succession. The Hebrew Scriptures and the tablets of the Assyrians then informed us how Israel, trusting in the help of Sabakon, refused payment of tribute to Nineveh, and what misfortunes punished this rebellion in the year 722 B.C.—how Sabakon was defeated two years afterwards at Raphia, in the neighbourhood of Gaza, by Sargon. Afterwards Sargon could boast of receiving tribute from the successor of Sabakon, Sevechus, in the year 716 B.C., and later still could demand and obtain the surrender of a fugitive opponent (711 B.C.). But Tirhaka, the successor of Sevechus, fought with success at Eltekeh in the year 701 against Sennacherib of Assyria, and forced him to raise the siege of Jerusalem. Thirty years afterwards the situation was entirely changed. In order to take from Sidon, Tyre, Judah, and the Syrian States their hopes in Napata and Egypt, which caused their resistance to be constantly bursting into fresh flame, Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, invaded Egypt in the year 672 B.C., and drove Tirhaka back to his native land. Tirhaka's repeated attempts to win Egypt from this position were wrecked like those of his successor, Urdamane: they only brought about the sack and devastation of Thebes and its sanctuaries (663 B.C.).

Hence it was not of their own free will that the Ethiopians retired to their home; the dominion over Egypt which the Ethiopians of Napata, who had long acquired the manners and civilisation of Egypt, had exercised for sixty years, was replaced by another and far heavier foreign dominion—the rule of the kings on the Tigris. The Egyptians did not set up twelve kings after the Ethiopians, who pledged themselves to[Pg 300] equality and friendship, as Herodotus supposes, nor did the twelve leading princes make themselves kings as Herodotus supposes. Still less did they rule Egypt in common; least of all could they erect the structure on Lake Mœris, the temple of Amenemha III., for it had already been in existence fifteen centuries (I. 109). It is the twenty vassal princes, whom Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal set up over Egypt—among whom must have been represented some of the dynastic families which rose under the Pharaohs of Bubastis and Tanis—out of whom the Egyptians have constructed the twelve kings.

Among these princes, by means of the Assyrians, Necho and his son Psammetichus rose into power. It was Esarhaddon who entrusted to Necho the government of Memphis and Sais. If Herodotus states that Sabakon put Necho, the father of Psammetichus, to death, the inscriptions of Assurbanipal prove the contrary. It must, therefore, have been the grandfather of Psammetichus, the Nechepsus of Manetho, who suffered this fate, and he must have suffered at the hands of Tirhaka, and not at the hands of Sabakon.[566] The flight of Psammetichus before Sabakon into Syria, which Herodotus relates, cannot have taken place till Tirhaka's time. In the account given by Herodotus only so much can be regarded as certain as is also clear from Manetho's list—i. e. that Necho and Psammetichus belonged to the district of Sais. Though raised by Esarhaddon, Necho began, after the death of that prince and the first campaign of Assurbanipal to Egypt, to join in a conspiracy with Tirhaka in connection with two of his fellow-vassals. He was taken prisoner and carried to Nineveh, but received pardon, and was, at any rate, again placed over Sais. His son, who had assumed the Assyrian[Pg 301] name of Neboshezban, received the canton of Athribis. Necho died towards the year 664 B.C.; his son succeeded him in the administration of the district of Sais. Ten or twelve years afterwards (653 B.C.[567]), apparently availing himself of the dissension which broke out in the royal house of Assyria, the rebellion of Samul-sum-ukin against his brother, he undertook to liberate Egypt from the dominion of the Medes, and at the same time to make himself master of Egypt. As to the manner in which this was done, and the means of doing it, we have no information beyond very scanty facts, suppositions, and conclusions. We saw above, from the inscriptions of Assurbanipal, that Psammetichus acted in concert with Gyges of Lydia, that "Gyges sent his power to aid him in breaking off the yoke of the Assyrians" (p. 170). The Ionians and Carians in brazen armour, in Herodotus, who come up from the sea, were thus the soldiers whom Gyges sent over the sea. He could only send his auxiliaries or Ionian vessels; and that he was in close combination with Carians will be made clear below. This fact does not make it at all impossible that Psammetichus before he revolted did not on his part gain the favour of the Ionians and Phenicians by opening the harbours of his canton, and favouring their trade, as Diodorus states (p. 298). This would give the harbour cities of the Greeks in Asia Minor sufficient reason to support strongly the rising of Psammetichus. For the independent support of Psammetichus by the Ionian cities of Asia Minor we have evidence in a statement of Strabo, according to which thirty ships[Pg 302] from Miletus were active in the cause of Psammetichus, and also the position afterwards assigned to the Ionians in Egypt under the reign of Psammetichus. The ships of the Milesians are said to have conquered Inarus, i. e. no doubt one of the princes who opposed the rising of Psammetichus, in a naval engagement on the Nile.[568]

Beyond this we have no further information about the course of the struggle, and its duration. Beside Inarus we have the name of one other opponent of Psammetichus, Tementhes.[569] We do not know whether all the vassals of Assyria ranged themselves against Psammetichus, or whether some of these princes followed his leadership against Assyria and the dependants of Assyria. We do not know whether he had merely to contend against his own fellow-princes or against Assyrian garrisons also, and Assyrian forces. According to Polyænus the decisive battle took place in the neighbourhood of Memphis, five stadia from the city, near the temple of Isis; Diodorus puts the battle-field at Momemphis in the western Delta, between the Canopic arm of the Nile and the Mareotic Lake. It is remarkable that the decisive battle should have been fought so far to the west, near the border of Libya, but it is not impossible. But we must not overlook the fact, that according to Herodotus, a later decisive battle took place at Momemphis—and from the circumstances it is clear that this battle must have been fought there—so that a confusion between the two is not impossible.

We do not know what claim Psammetichus could make to the sovereignty of Egypt besides the summons to the liberation from Assyria, and the accomplishment of this liberation. His family belonged to[Pg 303] the canton of Sais, from which, in previous times, Tnephachtus and Bocchoris had sprung. It would be possible that the house of Necho was in some connection with these princes, that Necho and Psammetichus were successors or descendants of Tnephactus. From this we may explain the story that the blind king, who fled before Sabakon into the marshes, recovered the throne after the retirement of the Ethiopians, and also the persecution which Necho and Psammetichus had to undergo from the Ethiopians. From such a connection we could also explain the fact that Necho took the part of Assyria against Tirhaka in the campaign of Esarhaddon, and received in reward from Esarhaddon the government of Memphis and Sais. The subsequent conspiracy of Necho with Tirhaka, when the latter had been driven back to Napata, would then show that Necho had attempted first to drive out the Ethiopians by the Assyrians, and then the Assyrians by the Ethiopians, and liberate Egypt by using one against the other. However this may be, Psammetichus, when liberating Egypt from Assyria, succeeded also in removing and destroying the dynastic families, which had risen up since the times of the Pharaohs of Bubastis and Tanis, and had maintained themselves under the Ethiopians and Assyrians, though in diminished importance and with a change in the position of their families. Thus Psammetichus accomplished the work which Tnephachtus began and Bocchoris was unable to carry on and maintain. According to the indications of an Egyptian inscription, Psammetichus strengthened his royal position by taking to wife Shabanatep, the heiress of a dynasty of Thebes. She was, apparently, the daughter of a prince Pianchi, who must have governed the canton of Thebes under[Pg 304] Sabakon, and of Ameniritis, the sister of Sabakon, whom he gave to Pianchi to wife.[570]

The independence of Egypt was won. After a foreign rule of nearly 80 years (on the lowest calculation the Ethiopians had ruled for 58 years, and the Assyrians nearly 20), Egypt was again her own mistress, and obeyed a king taken from her midst. But every one must have made up his mind to see new armies marching from the Tigris to the Nile, as soon as the rebellion of Samul-sum-ukin was crushed, and Assurbanipal's hands were free. The question was, whether Egypt's power was equal to such a struggle. Psammetichus was not put to this trial. After the capture of Babylon, Assurbanipal turned the full weight of his arms to the subjugation and destruction of Elam. The new conflict must have appeared unavoidable when Assurbanipal, about the year 643 B.C., punished the Arabian tribes on the borders of the Ammonites and Moabites. If he still omitted the attack on Egypt he must have regarded his forces as insufficient for the purpose, or they must have been seriously occupied in another direction. We may assume with tolerable certainty that it was the union of the Median tribes by Phraortes, the son of Deioces, and their combination with the Persians, which drew Assurbanipal back to the East, and kept him there. According to the statement of Herodotus, already considered, Psammetichus on his side advanced to the offensive beyond his own borders towards Syria. This[Pg 305] war of Psammetichus in Syria, and the supposed long conflict for Ashdod, can only mean that Psammetichus attempted to bring the cities of the Philistines, and especially those of the desert, into his hands, in order to make the march through the desert, which must commence from this point, impossible, or at any rate difficult, for the Assyrians. Here also we are ignorant whether Psammetichus had to contend with the Philistines alone or with the Assyrian forces also: this only is clear, that he could not besiege Ashdod before Gaza and Ascalon were in his hands. If Psammetichus was really moved to this war by the object we impute to him, we must put the war in the period in which there was still danger to be apprehended from the Tigris: i. e. in the decade from 640 to 630 B.C. According to this, the impossible 29 years which Herodotus allows to the siege of Ashdod must be reduced to nine years, just as we had to cut down the 28 years which he gives for the dominion of the Scythians in Hither Asia to about ten years. But in the advance of these Scythians towards Egypt (in the year 625 B.C.), described by Herodotus, he does not tell us that Ashdod, Ascalon, or Gaza, were subject to Psammetichus; he represents the Scythians as passing beyond the cities of the Philistines to the borders of Egypt, where Psammetichus, by gifts and entreaties, induces them to desist from any further advance, and turn back to Syria. If the war of Psammetichus in Syria is placed after the incursion of the Scythians, i. e. in the last fifteen years of his reign, another event shortly to be mentioned will have also to be placed at the end of his reign,—an event which must certainly have belonged to a previous period. In no case did Psammetichus obtain success in Syria. If his successor had to conquer Gaza, i. e. the city nearest[Pg 306] Egypt, it is obvious that Psammetichus maintained none of these border cities, though one or other may have been brought for a time into his power.

Egypt had been liberated and restored, but not by her own power. We saw that even from the times of the later Ramessids the military power of Egypt had been replaced by foreign mercenaries, especially by Libyans; that the house of the Pharaohs of Bubastis owed its rise to the command of these troops. We saw how under these Pharaohs, and those of the succeeding house of Tanis, the leaders of these troops became hereditary lords of the districts—how these dynasties summoned the Ethiopians against Tnephachtus and Bocchoris, and then others, including Necho and Psammetichus, joined Assyria against the Ethiopians. Before the reign of Sabakon it was chiefly Libyans on whom the power of the princes rested; under Sabakon, Sevechus, and Tirhaka it was the Ethiopians who supported the authority of the crown; and in the same way Psammetichus succeeded in breaking loose from Assyria, and establishing his authority in Egypt, and on the throne of the Pharaohs, mainly by strangers and mercenaries, by Ionians and Carians. Psammetichus could not do without them. In his internal administration they were required to keep down the overthrown dynastic families, and he needed them to protect his kingdom from without. His elevation, the foundation of his power, the restoration of Egypt, rested on the attempt to establish Egypt and his own crown, as against Ethiopia and Assyria, on a third external power, the mariners of the north. Psammetichus therefore was compelled to give preference to Ionians and Carians over the native soldiers, the warrior caste, who, under the dominion of the kings of Napata, must obviously have received a considerable[Pg 307] addition of Ethiopians from the native land of the kings. In the Syrian war also, as Diodorus tells us, the Ionians and Carians received the place of honour on the right wing, in the order of battle. The Ionians and Carians were entrusted with the protection of the eastern border, the most important border of the kingdom. There they were placed in a standing camp, on the Pelusic arm of the Nile; on one bank was the camp of the Ionians, on the other the camp of the Carians.[571] These Ionians and Carians—their numbers under the successors of Psammetichus reached 30,000 men—received valuable allotments of land, and were so handsomely treated that the prophet Jeremiah compares them to "stall-fed oxen."[572] They had also to educate Egyptians in their language, their customs, and their mode of war: Psammetichus placed in their hands Egyptian boys for education and training, and caused even his own sons to be instructed in Greek.[573] The old warrior caste was limited to the protection of the southern and western borders against Napata and the Libyans, the border service at Elephantine and Marea.

The marked preference shown to the new troops as opposed to the old could not be without an effect on the latter. Jealousy and hatred were unavoidable. But they attempted no rebellion. Curiously enough, a considerable portion of the old warrior caste contented themselves with abandoning Egypt. Herodotus tells us: "The Egyptians who for years had kept guard at Elephantine were not relieved. They consulted together, and unanimously came to the conclusion to revolt from Psammetichus, and retire to Egypt, being in number 240,000. Psammetichus[Pg 308] pursued them, and entreated them on many grounds not to desert their wives and children, and the gods of the land. Then one of the soldiers exposed himself, and said, that for men there would be no lack of wives and children. When they arrived in Ethiopia they put themselves at the service of the king, who bade them drive out the Ethiopians with whom he was at variance, and take their land." This was done, and the emigrants dwelt on the Nile, 112 days' journey to the south of Elephantine.[574] Diodorus tells us: "Displeased at the preference shown to the mercenaries, the Egyptians, more than 200,000 in number, revolted, and marched to Ethiopia with the intention of obtaining there a land for themselves. The king first sent some officers to prevent them: when these availed nothing he hastened after them on ship with his most trusted followers. The soldiers marched up the Nile, and had already crossed the borders of Egypt, when Psammetichus entreated them to alter their minds, and reminded them of their father-land, their wives and children. Then they struck their lances on their shields, and said that so long as they had these they would easily find a father-land, and raising their coats they said that they should have no lack of wives and children. Thus firmly despising what to most men seems of the greatest importance, they took the best part of Ethiopia for their dwelling, allotting large portions of land to each other." According to the evidence of Eratosthenes the land of the emigrants lay above the confluence of the Astaboras and the Nile, on an island south-east of the later Meroe.[575][Pg 309]

The number of the emigrants in this narrative, which is obviously part of the tradition of Egypt, is of course exaggerated. Manetho gives the same number (240,000) for the Hyksos who emigrated from Egypt, and for these emigrants. Even Diodorus found a difficulty in this number; he diminished it, and says, "more than 200,000." Moreover, in any case, a considerable number of the old military order must have remained in Egypt. The successors of Psammetichus, who favoured the Greek mercenaries as much as Psammetichus himself, certainly did not increase the native military order, still less did the Persians after their conquest of the land. Yet Herodotus tells us that about the middle of the fifth century, i. e. more than a century and a half after the emigration, the military order in Egypt numbered more than 400,000. If the number of the emigrants really reached 240,000 men, it is inexplicable why so strong a body did not prefer to make themselves masters of Egypt, rather than go in laborious search of uncertain conquests in distant lands. Herodotus' statement that it was the garrison at Elephantine which emigrated no doubt leads us in the direction of the actual occurrence. This garrison cannot have been 240,000 strong, as his narrative states; we cannot assume that it was stronger than the ordinary border garrison against Syria, i. e. from 30,000 to 40,000 men. It may have been a part of the army, of about this strength, encamped on the southern border, which deserted to the king of Napata,[Pg 310] and preferred service with the Ethiopians to service with Psammetichus. To Psammetichus himself it could only appear a desirable thing, if the discontented elements of the old army left the country. But this desertion to the king of Napata added considerably to the fighting strength of the latter, and might entice him even into an attack on Egypt. The emigration could not be hindered by force; it was the garrison in charge of the border who were emigrating. To pursue the emigrants with a force was only to be too late, and kindle war with Napata. It entirely suits this situation that Psammetichus should send after the fugitives, and then go in person, in order to induce them to return by gracious promises. According as the Syrian war of Psammetichus is placed before or after the Scythian invasion, this emigration, which in Diodorus is a consequence of that war, must be placed after the year 630 B.C. or after the year 615 B.C.

The Greeks were not favoured in the army only. It was part of the political system of Psammetichus to open the mouths of the Nile to them and the Phenicians, to give them access to all the harbours, and allow them, the "unclean" in the view of the older Egyptians, to settle on Egyptian soil. The Greeks soon came in considerable numbers. The Milesians obtained permission to build a citadel on the Bolbitinic mouth, and higher up, at the separation of the Bolbitinic and Canopic arms, they built the city of Naucratis, the name of which was taken, no doubt, from the conflict on the Nile (p. 302). The Phenicians obtained a special quarter on the Nile, "the camp of the Tyrians," in which to erect a temple to the Syrian goddess.

Psammetichus continued to sit on the throne of the Pharaohs for 40 years after he had expelled the[Pg 311] Assyrians, and obtained the absolute power (from 650-610 B.C.). How far he succeeded, in this space of time, in healing the grievous wounds inflicted on the country by the alternating struggle of Ethiopians and Assyrians, and the war of liberation, the civil war,—in restoring Memphis, Sais, Tanis, and Thebes, after their destruction, we cannot ascertain. But the impulse given to trade and intercourse by the opening of the harbours, the favour shown to the Greeks and Phenicians, in any case increased the welfare of Egypt, and the industrial and artistic activity which begins in the reign of Psammetichus presupposes considerable prosperity in the land. Psammetichus knew how to restore the ancient splendour of the double crown. He built at Karnac and on the island of Philæ. At Sais, the home of his family and his residence, he built a splendid residence. The ancient shrine of Ptah at Memphis he surrounded with a wall, and added a new gate to the temple towards the south. Opposite this gate he built a new hall for the Apis, the walls of which were covered with sculptures, and the porticoes had colossi 12 cubits in height.[576] In the burying-ground at Memphis he caused the temple of Osiris-Apis, "his father," the grave-temple on the eminence, to which the double row of sphinxes led from the city (I. 67), to be restored; "that it might be as it had been before." As the gallery which Ramses II. had caused to be hewn in the rock for the reception of the Apis bulls was no longer sufficient, Psammetichus added one still larger and more beautiful. The two Apis bulls which died in his reign—in the twentieth and the thirty-fifth year—were buried with due solemnity and pomp, the second being placed in the new gallery.[577] From no[Pg 312] reign is the number of monuments in these tombs of the Apis, by which those who dedicated them sought to recommend themselves to the favour of Osiris, greater than from the reign of Psammetichus. With his buildings Egyptian art took a new impulse, which was also the last. The forms are lighter, more delicate, more mobile, and far more natural; the hieroglyphics are carried to a marvellous degree of delicacy. For the statues the artists of this period preferred the black and grey basalt to granite. In the dimensions, sculpture as well as architecture remained far behind the period of the ancient kingdom, behind the period of the Tuthmosis and Amenophis, of Sethos and Ramses.

The son and successor of Psammetichus, who was called Necho after his grandfather, followed in the path which his father had pointed out and opened. He paid especial attention to the foreign trade, the arming of Egypt on the sea. He hastened to create a navy for Egypt on the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Herodotus observes that he had himself seen the docks for the ships on his journey to Egypt.[578] Egypt was stronger by sea if the same fleet could be used on the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Thus Necho came back to the views of Ramses II., to the great canal for uniting the Nile with the Red Sea. By this the trade of Egypt with South Arabia, and the trade on the Arabian Gulf, was brought into direct connection with the marine trade of the Mediterranean. Necho took up the excavation of the canal commenced by Ramses II., which was at that time carried as far as the region of the Bitter Lakes. The excavation was first to be carried eastward as far as the Bitter Lakes,[Pg 313] and from this point the land was to be pierced in a southerly direction as far as the apex of the Red Sea. At the same time the canal was to be widened, and the new watercourse made so broad, that two triremes could easily find a place side by side—an undertaking worthy to be placed by the side of the buildings of the ancient kings. The old canal was soon excavated more completely, the Bitter Lakes were reached,[579] but the reach from this point to the Red Sea remained unaccomplished, though the work was carried on so vigorously and even ruthlessly that, according to Herodotus, 120,000 men perished there in the desert. According to Herodotus too, a prophecy induced the king to desist from the completion of the canal: it was announced to him that he was working for barbarians, but Strabo, with greater probability, states that the death of the king interrupted the work.

Necho did not wait for the completion of the canal in order to explore the coasts of the Arabian Gulf and the Sea in the South. The Phenicians who, from the times of Solomon in Israel, had desired to gain the trade with South Arabia by sea, who under Solomon, Jehoshaphat, and Uzziah, had commenced and carried on navigation thither from Elath and Eziongeber, could now renew these voyages from Egypt. With a view of furthering trade and navigation, Necho sent, as Herodotus tells us, Phenicians down the Red Sea, with the injunction to return through the pillars of Heracles. These Phenicians, we are told, passed into the South Sea; "and when it was autumn they went ashore and sowed the land, whereon they happened to be in Libya, and waited for the harvest, and when they had gathered it in, they again went on board ship, so that after they had been two years at sea,[Pg 314] they rounded the pillars in the third year, and came to Egypt. And they told a story, which to me is incredible, though perhaps not equally so to another. They said that when they sailed round Libya, they had the sun on the right hand." By this to him incredible statement Herodotus proves the reality of this, the most ancient circumnavigation of Africa. As soon as the equator was passed, the expedition would see the sun on the north, i. e. on the right hand, which to Herodotus, according to the Greek conception of the sun and the earth, must have seemed incredible.

The kingdom of the Assyrians, which for more than a hundred years had threatened Egypt, governed her, and threatened her again, was at the last gasp when Necho, in the year 610 B.C., ascended the throne of his father. The inundation of the Sacæ had shattered the cohesion of the Assyrian power; Nabopolassar of Babylon, and Cyaxares of Media, had already been united against Assyria for ten years past; even now, after Nabopolassar had brought about a peace between Lydia and Media, they set themselves to give the last blow to the fallen remnant of Assyria. Psammetichus had attempted to establish himself in the south-west corner of Syria; a more favourable moment could not come to Egypt for winning Syria, for repeating the campaigns of the ancient Pharaohs to the Euphrates, and showing in this direction also the new royal house to be the restorer of the ancient glory. Apart from such considerations, prudence bade them not to leave the spoil to the Babylonians alone. What would Egypt win by the fall of Assyria, if Babylon took her place in Syria and became the neighbour of Egypt? Necho marched against Syria. It seems that in order to avoid the difficult route through the desert, he transported his army on board his fleet to the Syrian[Pg 315] coast. The landing took place in the neighbourhood of Carmel—at any rate we find that the first collision of the Egyptians and Syrians took place there.

Twelve years had elapsed since king Josiah of Judah had introduced the new law, and rigorously enforced the worship of Jehovah. The dominion of the kings of Nineveh over Syria was past: Josiah was not inclined to exchange this for the yoke of Egypt. Had the Egyptians come by land, Josiah must have met the army of Necho in the South of Judah. The armies met under Carmel on the Kishon: the battle broke out in the valley of Megiddo. The numbers of the Egyptian army ensured victory, they must have been overpowering. The Jews were defeated; Josiah fell; his corpse was carried from the battle-field by his servants (609 B.C.). In the camp at Hadad Rimmon the remnant of the Jewish army lamented over the pious king—who then found his resting-place in the sepulchres of his fathers at Jerusalem—and sang songs of lamentation.[580] Passing by the two elder sons of Josiah, the people raised to the throne the third son, Jehoahaz.[581] If Necho afterwards dedicated the armour which he wore at the victory of Megiddo to Apollo,[Pg 316] in his ancient temple at Miletus, where the Branchidæ were his ministers, the conclusion may be drawn that the Ionian soldiers in his army had especially distinguished themselves in winning the victory. He did not pursue the army of Judah, but rather turned to the North, towards Damascus. Soon after his accession, the successor of Josiah repaired to the camp of the Pharaoh, to pledge his obedience. Necho was encamped at Riblah (now Ribleh), south of Emesa, in a grassy plain on the Orontes, where the road which leads from the Euphrates to the coast is cut by the road which follows the valley of the Orontes. Necho caused Jehoahaz to be secured, and sent him as a prisoner to Egypt. There he remained till his death: he had sat on the throne only three months. The Judæans were not permitted to raise any more kings to the throne: on the contrary, Necho made Jehoiakim, the second son of Josiah, prince of Judah, and imposed on the land a contribution of 100 kikkar of silver, and one kikkar of gold. Of the subsequent achievements of Necho in Syria, we have precise information only about the capture of Gaza. From the subsequent events we must conclude that Necho succeeded in subjugating all the Syrian states to his supremacy.[582]

Meanwhile Jehoiakim, set up by Necho to be king of Judah, undisturbed by his dependence on Egypt, or by the contribution which the land had to pay, occupied himself with building palaces in Jerusalem, and for that object extorted money and service from his subjects. The prophet Jeremiah, who had supported the introduction of the Book of the Law under the reign of his father, opposed this action of the king without regard to consequences: "Weep not for the[Pg 317] dead king," Jeremiah said to the Jews, "neither bemoan him; weep rather for him who is carried away (Jehoahaz): he will die there, and see no more his native country. They will not lament for Jehoiakim, saying, Ah! my brother. Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him not for his work. Woe to him that saith, I will build me a wide house and large chambers, and cutteth him out windows, and it is ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion. Shalt thou reign because thou contendest with houses of cedar? Thy father did eat and drink, but he did judgment and justice; he judged the cause of the poor and needy, and it was well with him. But thine eyes and thy heart are for nought but thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression and violence. He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn forth and cast beyond the gates of Jerusalem."[583] The prophet had to thank the protection of Ahikam, a son of the scribe Zaphan (p. 213), that he escaped the anger of the king. Another prophet who prophesied in the same strain, Urijah by name, was brought by Jehoiakim out of Egypt, whither he had fled, and put to death.[584]

While Necho, in Syria, subjugated one district after another, the Babylonians and Medes were engaged in a severe struggle with the remnant of Assyria. At length Nineveh fell. Soon after, in the year 605 B.C., Necho marched to the Euphrates, no doubt with the intention of extending his dominion as far as Karchemish. The roads through the deserts, traversed by the caravans, by which the armies of the Assyrians had so often travelled, ran from Hamath and Damascus to [Pg 318]Thipsach and Karchemish, which lay opposite the modern Biredshik.

Nabopolassar of Babylon found himself at the goal of his wishes. Nineveh was at his feet. When after his long and heavy labour he had entered into the enjoyment of the independent sovereignty over Babylon, a new enemy appeared unexpectedly, an army from the Nile, in order to encamp on the Euphrates, and set foot on the borders of Babylon, and endanger the state which Nabopolassar had just restored, if he did not actually diminish the results obtained.[585] He felt himself no longer equal to the toil of war, so Berosus tells us, and handed over a part of the army to Nebuchadnezzar, who "was in his youthful strength."[586] Nebuchadnezzar and the Egyptians met at Karchemish. Necho suffered a severe defeat, which put a speedy end to all his schemes of conquest. "Who is this," exclaims Jeremiah, "that cometh up as the Nile, whose waters are moved as the rivers? The[Pg 319] Egyptian cometh up like the Nile, and saith, I will go up and will cover the earth, and will destroy the city, and the inhabitants thereof. Order ye the buckler and shield, and draw near to the battle. Harness the horses, and get up, ye horsemen. Put on the helmets and the brigandines, and furbish the spears. Come up, ye horses, and rage, ye chariots; let the Ethiopians come forth that handle the shield, and the Libyans that bend the bow. But why have I seen them dismayed and turned back, and their mighty ones are beaten down, and are fled apace and look not back? Let not the swift flee away, nor the mighty man escape; they shall stumble and fall toward the north by the river Euphrates, and the sword shall devour, and it shall be made satiate, and shall be drunk with the blood of the Egyptians. Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin daughter of Egypt. But there is no medicine for thee. The people have heard thy shame, and thy cry has filled the land."[587]


[564] Herod. 2, 137 ff; 147 ff.

[565] Diod. I, 65, 66.

[566] Manetho's list would put the death of Nechepsus in 672 B.C.

[567] Above, p. 171 n., where the grounds for this date are given. According to the statement of Diodorus, the anarchy after the Ethiopians lasted two years, the Dodecarchy 15 years. If Esarhaddon conquered Egypt in 672 B.C., 17 years bring us to the year 655 B.C. as the beginning of the defection from Assyria.

[568] Strabo, p. 801.

[569] Polyæn. "Strateg.," 7, 30.

[570] On the side of the alabaster statue of Ameniritis, which was dug up in a chapel at Karnak, we find under the name: "The regent of the South and the North, the royal sister of —— the royal daughter of ——" the names are chiselled out. But a Scarabæus of Gurnah informs us: "Ameniritis, goddess, consort, daughter of Kashta;" and legends in the place where the statues were found run thus: "The royal sister of Raneserke (Sabakon), the royal daughter of Kashta, the just." Mariette, "Revue Archæeolog." N.S. 1863, p. 418, 419.

[571] Herod. 2, 154.

[572] Diod. 1, 67. Χώραν πολλὴν κατεκληρούχησε. Jerem. xlvi. 21.

[573] Herod. 2, 112, 154; Diod. 1, 67.

[574] Herod. 2, 30.

[575] Diod. 1, 67; Strabo, p. 770, 786. Plin. "Hist. Nat.," 6, 35. Vol. I. p. 14. The statement of Diodorus repeated in the text—that the Greeks had the right wing—might seem to have been borrowed from Greek customs, if Herodotus did not tell us that the emigrants were called Asmach (2, 30), which means standing on the left side of the king. The monuments show that the Egyptians denoted the order of precedence, according to the right and left side of the king; we find bearers of the fan on the right side and on the left of the king. According to Brugsch, Asmach really means what is found on the left side. Klöder ("Das Stromsystem des oberen Nil," s. 36 ff. 86) assumes that the settlement of the emigrant warriors is to be sought at Axum.

[576] Herod. 2, 105, 163. Diod. 1, 68.

[577] Brugsch "Hist. of Egypt," 2, 286. That the Egyptians counted the reign of Psammetichus from the end of Tirhaka's, i. e. from 664 B.C., is proved above, p. 71 n.

[578] Herod. 2, 159.

[579] Lepsius, "Ægypt. Chronologie," s. 351.

[580] The Chronicles (2, xxxv. 20 ff) represent Josiah as dying in Jerusalem, but they can hardly be correct. In order to explain the unhappy death of the pious king, who had introduced the Book of the Law, and destroyed the worship of idols, by a transgression, they represent Josiah as not hearkening to the words of Necho "out of the mouth of God," and making an attack on the Egyptians, who were not at war with them. But though the Chronicles represent Necho as declaring that he was hastening to the Euphrates, it is, on the other hand, clear that he did not march to the Euphrates till four years after the battle of Megiddo. The Magdolus of Herodotus is, no doubt, the Megiddo of the Hebrews. Josephus ("Antiq." 10, 5, 1) names Mende as the place of the battle. Whether the camp of the Jews was really pitched at Hadad Rimmon, to the south-east of Megiddo, is not clear.

[581] On the sons of Josiah, Johanan, Jehoiakim, Shallum (by Zebudah), Jehoahaz, and Zedekiah (by Hamutal), cf. 1 Chron. iii. 15, 16.

[582] Jerem. xlvii. 1. Cadytis in Herodotus 2, 159 is Gaza. The name is formed after the Egyptian "Kazatu."

[583] Jerem. xxii. 10-19.

[584] Jerem. xxvi. 12-14; 20-23.

[585] The opinion that Necho marched to the Euphrates to the relief of Nineveh seems to me quite untenable. Setting aside the fact that for this object Necho must have been at the Euphrates earlier,—which he could well have done,—what interest had Necho in Assyria, from whose power his father had liberated Egypt? Nor can I adopt the opinion of M. Niebuhr that Necho marched to Assyria merely to defend Syria. Josephus ("Antiq." 10, 5, 1) tells us, "that Necho marched to the Euphrates in order to make war upon the Medes and Babylonians, who had destroyed the Assyrian power." This idea of offensive warfare is confirmed by the words in Jeremiah: "I will go up and destroy their cities." Syria was easier of defence when he had the desert before him, than when it lay behind him.

[586] Berosi Frag. 14 ed. Müller. That in Berosus the satrap of Syria has taken the place of Necho, may be explained by the supposition that Nabopolassar had laid claim to Syria as an appurtenance of the part of the Assyrian kingdom which had fallen to him, and perhaps announced to Necho that he was prepared to give him Syria as a dependency of Babylon—an offer which Necho did not accept. But the "satrap" is also sufficiently explained by the point of view of the historian of Babylon, who sees the period of Nebuchadnezzar in the most brilliant light.

[587] Jerem. xlvi. 1-13, 15, 16, 17.



[Pg 320]



In the Median poems, from which Ctesias and Nicolaus have told us the story of the overthrow of the Assyrian kingdom by the combined Medes and Babylonians, the leader of the Medes naturally occupies the most prominent place. From him the prudent and crafty leader of the Babylonians obtains the satrapy of his home as the price of his co-operation—co-operation which mainly consists in imparting advice on the ground of his knowledge of astronomy. Afterwards he shows himself faithless and thievish, and for this is condemned to death. But the magnanimity of the Median prince not only grants his life, but even assigns to him the satrapy of Babylonia, which, according to other songs in those poems, remains in the hands of the descendants of the dependant. The poems of the Medes could not leave altogether out of sight the co-operation of the Babylonians in the overthrow of Assyria, but they kept it in the back-ground, and gave their leader a contemptible character. They could not deny that after the fall of Nineveh Babylonia stood beside Media, but they could change this independent kingdom into the principality of a vassal, a satrapy of Media without payment of tribute. As[Pg 321] a fact it must have been Nabopolassar who gave the impulse to a decisive attack upon the remnant of the Assyrian kingdom, and took the leading part in the decisive struggle. This position of Nabopolassar breaks out even in the Median poem, inasmuch as he is the first to rouse the Mede, and sustains the courage of the confederates.[588]

Sprung from a priestly tribe in Babylonia, as the Median poems tell us—and other evidence confirms the statement—and in the confidence of the king of Assyria, Nabopolassar was nominated to be the viceroy of Babylonia. For some years he holds this office, and then resolves on a revolt; it is he who sets on foot and accomplishes the union of Media and Babylonia, and establishes it by the alliance of his own house with that of the Median king. It is he who relieves Media from the Lydian war, and establishes peace and a marriage between Media and Lydia, so that Media can turn with all her power against the remnant of Assyria. The share which Nabopolassar receives in the prize of victory when the goal has been won corresponds to his share in the decisive struggle. The land of Assyria, so Herodotus tells us, fell to Media, "as far as the Babylonian portion." From this it is clear that Cyaxares received the Assyrian land as far as the Tigris. Had not this region been under the supremacy of the Medes before the Persian dominion, the ruins of Nineveh and Chalah could not have been pointed out to Xenophon as the ruins of Median cities. The land to the west of the Tigris, Mesopotamia, as far as the foot of the Armenian mountains, fell to the share of Nabopolassar. We are definitely told by the Hebrews that the region[Pg 322] of the Chaboras belonged to the new kingdom of Babylon,[589] and, as we saw, it was not the Median army which Necho met at Biredshik, but the Babylonians, the army of Nabopolassar.

Whether it was Nabopolassar's intention to extend his power to the west beyond the Euphrates, and enter upon the inheritance of Assyria as the sovereign over Syria, or whether it was the advance of Necho into Syria, and his march to the Euphrates, which first called forth this intention, we cannot decide. In no case was he likely to suffer Egypt to establish herself in Syria. Nebuchadnezzar, the son of Nabopolassar, after his victory at Karchemish, followed the retreating army of Egypt. The Syrian lands once more looked forward to becoming the scene and seat of the war between Babylonia and Egypt, as in previous times they had witnessed the war between Assyria and Egypt. If the dominion of Egypt had been recently imposed upon them in the place of the dominion of Assyria, it depended on the approaching struggle of arms, whether they were to become the subjects of a new master, of the new crown of Babylon.

Thus the defeat of Necho and the retreat of the Egyptian army aroused no feelings of delight in Jerusalem at the blow which had there fallen upon the lord of the Nile. There was a fear of the approach of the Babylonians. We saw with what vigour the prophet Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah of Anathoth, had opposed the careless frivolity of Jehoiakim, the king whom Necho had placed over the Jews (p. 317). After the disastrous day at Megiddo, the fall of Josiah, and carrying away of Jehoahaz to Egypt, the eye of the prophet had been directed to the dangerous[Pg 323] position of the kingdom. Necho's army was then in Syria; one city after another succumbed to his arms. To the melancholy mind of Isaiah the fall of the kingdom seemed unavoidable. This conviction he expressed; he foretold to Jehoiakim the most disgraceful fall. In energy and power of thought Jeremiah cannot be compared with Isaiah, but in the boldness and incisiveness of his opposition to the king and nation he surpasses him. Isaiah had firmly held to the preservation and maintenance of the city of Jerusalem and the temple, even in the judgment of Jehovah on Israel and Judah. The conception that Jehovah's temple, and his habitation in the holy of holies of the temple, was a pledge for the security of the city, that Jehovah could not abandon and destroy his temple and shrine, was a fixed idea among most of the prophets and among the people; it was confirmed by the fortunate preservation from the army of Sennacherib, and the hordes of the Sacæ; and the Jews had confidence in the impregnable nature and lasting security of their temple and city. In this confidence Jeremiah detected a grave evil. The people trusted to the impregnable nature of the shrine and city; the Jews believed that in spite of their errors and sins they would be secure of Jerusalem owing to the temple. Therefore he set himself energetically to combat this belief. He is filled with the conception of the approaching judgment, which will be brought on by the defection of past times, "when Israel like a swift young dromedary went after every stranger;"[590] and by her unrighteous conversation in the present time. His conception, which in depth of religious feeling is raised above the views of the earlier prophets, is that all external customs and symbols must fall to the[Pg 324] ground, not sacrifices only and fasts, but the temple and the ark of the covenant. Not till a radical destruction has taken place will the restoration of the people follow, by means of a small remnant of the righteous, and a shoot from the stock of David. In Jeremiah's view the people cannot be saved without the stroke of annihilation, "for the Ethiop cannot change his skin, nor the leopard his spots."[591] But after this judgment Jehovah will "make a new covenant" with his people, "which is not like that which he made with their fathers, when he led them out of Egypt." "I will put my law in your inward parts," saith Jehovah, "and write it in your hearts."[592] "In those days they will no more speak of the ark of Jehovah; it will not come into the mind of any: none will miss it; nor will another be made." Then will Jehovah set up shepherds after his own heart of the branch of David,[593] who will pasture Israel with wisdom and prudence; and all nations will gather together to the name of Jehovah, and will not walk after the hardness of their evil heart.

Filled with these conceptions, Jeremiah cried aloud to the people assembled in the court of the temple: "Amend your hearts, and listen to the voice of Jehovah, your God. If ye will not walk in his law, which he has set before you, and hearken to the words of the prophets, Jehovah will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.[594] Trust not in lying words: this is the temple of Jehovah. Ye steal, murder, and commit adultery; ye offer incense to Baal, and knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven,[595] and come into this house, which is called by the name of[Pg 325] Jehovah, and say: We are delivered to do all these abominations. Go ye now unto my dwelling-place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. So will I do to this house in which ye trust, as I did to Shiloh, and will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out your brethren, the seed of Ephraim."[596] At these words the priests seized Jeremiah, and the people rose in anger to put him to death, because he had announced the fall of the temple. Then certain of the elders came forward, and reminded the people that in Hezekiah's time the prophet Micah had announced: "Zion shall be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become a heap of stones,"[597] and neither the king nor the people had put him to death. Jeremiah himself said to the enraged multitude: "Behold, I am in your hands; do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you; but know ye for certain that ye will bring innocent blood upon this city; for of a truth Jehovah hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears." The people retired from him.

After this occurrence in the temple, Jeremiah no longer ventured to come forth in public; he contented himself for the present with dictating his warnings and announcements to his scribe Baruch. After the battle of Karchemish it was clear to him at once that the king of Babel would be the instrument of Jehovah to accomplish the approaching judgment: the mission which Isaiah had assigned to the Assyrians 100 years previously—to destroy all nations—Jeremiah now saw given to the Chaldæans. But as Isaiah then prophesied the fall of Assyria, when she had accomplished the judgments of Jehovah, so, according to the views[Pg 326] of Jeremiah, the Chaldæans are to be destroyed when they have done their work. After a rule of 70 years, i. e. after a period of ten Sabbath-years (II. 219), this fortune will overtake the Babylonians—such is the view of Jeremiah. "For 23 years," so Jeremiah commanded his scribe Baruch to write,[598] "the word of Jehovah hath come to me, and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but ye have not hearkened; ye have hearkened to other prophets, not to the servants of Jehovah. Therefore I will bring Nebuchadnezzar my servant against this land and its inhabitants, saith Jehovah, and against all the nations round about, and I will destroy out of them the voice of mirth, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the mill, and the light of the lamp. The whole land shall be a desolation, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Take the wine-cup of this fury at my hand, so spake Jehovah to me, and cause all the nations to drink it, that they may drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. Cause Jerusalem to drink it, and the cities of Judah, the Pharaoh of Egypt, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, the kings of Tyre and Sidon, and the kings of the islands beyond the sea, the Edomites, and the Moabites, and the kings of Arabia who dwell in the deserts, and the kings of Media. Jehovah shall roar from on high, he shall roar upon his habitation (Jerusalem); he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. Jehovah will reckon with the nations; he will plead with all flesh, and give them that are wicked to the sword. Evil[Pg 327] shall go forth from nation to nation, and the slain of Jehovah will be in that day from one end of the earth to the other; they shall not be lamented, nor buried, they shall be dung upon the ground."[599]

At Karchemish Necho had lost all the fruits of his struggles in Syria. He did not venture to engage in a second battle for the possession of Syria, but retired to the borders of Egypt. In Jerusalem a day of fasting was kept at the approach of the Babylonian army. More than three years and eight months had passed since Necho made Jehoiakim king of Judah.[600] These and other announcements Jeremiah commanded Baruch to read before the assembled multitude in the upper court of the temple on the day of fasting. "It may be they will present their supplication before Jehovah," he said, "for great is the anger that Jehovah hath pronounced upon this people." Baruch carried out the command of Jeremiah. The letter made a deep impression. Baruch had to read it again before the captains of Jehoiakim, at their request. These told the king, who was at that time in his winter house, of the prophecies of Jeremiah. Jehoiakim caused three or four leaves to be read, then seized the roll, cut it with a knife, threw the pieces into the pan of coals which stood before him, and gave orders that Jeremiah and his scribe Baruch should be brought before him, but both had hidden themselves, and the captains were not inclined to discover them by any strict search.[601]

The Babylonian army did not appear before Jerusalem. Nabopolassar lay sick at Babylon; the account of his death summoned Nebuchadnezzar back to the metropolis. He hastened with a few companions through the deserts to Babylon, in order to take the[Pg 328] crown of the new kingdom. The army, with the prisoners and the booty, were to follow (605 B.C.). Meanwhile the priests at Babylon had made provision, and set up a regent from among themselves who governed the kingdom till the return of Nebuchadnezzar.[602]

As soon as the first succession to the throne of the new kingdom was happily completed, and Nebuchadnezzar saw his position established, he applied his forces to extending and securing his empire. If the new dynasty was to take root, it was incumbent on it to renew the splendour and power of the ancient kingdom of Babylon. The successes which Nabopolassar had achieved against the Assyrians, the splendid victory which Nebuchadnezzar had gained against the Egyptians, must have confirmed the confidence of the new ruler in his own power, and the strength of his army. Yet the first consideration was not merely splendour and glory. Egypt could not indeed maintain her place in Syria, but she was still in possession of Gaza; if the Syrian States were not annexed, they would always incline to Egypt, and would soon join her again. To abandon Syria was equivalent to handing[Pg 329] over the country to the Egyptians. A further consideration was, that the Median power in league with which Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar had risen was far superior to the Babylonians. At present, it was true, they were in the closest and best relations with the Median and Lydian courts—but could they count on the continuance of these relations? Was it not advisable to create for the new kingdom of Babylon an empire which should form an adequate counterpoise to the power of the Medes? The north and east belonged to the Medes, the natural direction for the extension of Babylon therefore lay to the south, on the coast of the Persian Gulf, and to the west. The victorious campaigns of the Assyrian rulers pointed in this direction; here, on the shore of the Mediterranean, lay the cities of the Phenicians, who collected within their walls the trade of the world, whose industry and wealth could bring to the new kingdom the greatest sources of help.

Nebuchadnezzar's first object was to extend his power over the Arabians on the lower Euphrates, in North Arabia, and in the Syrian desert. The tribes of the Temanites, Dedanites, and Kedarites were subjugated. The princes of the Arabians of Dedan, Tema, Kedar, and Hazor, became vassals of Babylon.[603] Then Arpad, Hamath, and Damascus, which had resisted Assyria so long and stubbornly, succumbed. Jerusalem trembled at the fall of the neighbouring nations. "The Chaldæans are roused," says the prophet Habakkuk; "that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the earth, and shall possess the dwelling-places which are not theirs. Their horses are swifter than leopards, and more fierce than evening wolves; proudly their horses spring from far:[Pg 330] they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. And they shall scoff at the kings, and the princes shall be a scorn to them; they shall deride every stronghold, for they shall heap up earth against it, and take it, and carry off prisoners like sand. Then will they go on like a storm-wind, and their might is their god.[604] My knees quaked that I might look with rest upon the day of trouble, upon the people which oppresses us.[605] Shall they slay the nations continually without punishment? can he not rest who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people? Will not the people suddenly rise up and demand usury from thee? will not the nations plunder thee, whom thou hast plundered?"[606] Of Nebuchadnezzar, Jeremiah says: "Like a lion he will come up against the well-stocked pasture.[607] Flee, flee with all your might, ye inhabitants of Hazor, for Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, hath taken counsel against you, and hath conceived a purpose against you. Get you up to the nation which hath neither gates nor bars, and dwelleth alone; go up to Kedar and spoil the men of the East. Your tents and your flocks will they take; your curtains and your camels they will carry away; the multitude of your flocks shall be a spoil to them. I will scatter to all the winds of the earth those who cut the corners of their hair (the Arabians), saith Jehovah, and will bring destruction on them from every side, and Hazor shall be a dwelling for the jackal, a desolation for ever.[608] Cry, ye daughters of Rabbath (Rabbath Ammon, II. 155), gird yourselves with sack-cloth, for Milcom shall go away[Pg 331] into misery, his priests and princes together.[609] Woe to thee, Moab; the people of Camos (Chemosh, I. 372) perisheth. He shall fly like an eagle, and spread his wings over Moab; the strong places are taken.[610] Hamath is confounded, and Arpad. Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee.[611] Thou wert confident, O Edom, because thou dwellest on the high rocks and the tops of the mountains. Though thou buildest thy nest like the eagle thou shalt be thrown down."[612]

Five years had elapsed since the battle of Karchemish when Nebuchadnezzar crossed the borders of Judah (600 B.C.).[613] Jehoiakim submitted and thus escaped destruction. After the subjugation of Ammon, Moab, and Judah, Nebuchadnezzar could turn his arms against the southern coast of Syria. This advance of Nebuchadnezzar and the necessity of preventing Babylonia from establishing herself on the borders of Egypt, could not but bring Egypt again into arms. Necho had had time to recover from the defeat of Karchemish. The hope of aid from Egypt induced Jehoiakim to renounce his obedience three years after he had submitted to Nebuchadnezzar, and to turn his arms against Babylonia. At Nebuchadnezzar's command the troops of the neighbouring states who had remained loyal, the Northern Syrians, the Ammonites, and Moabites, first invaded the land of Judah. When the Egyptians had been driven back into their borders,[Pg 332] and the king of Babylon had "taken everything that belonged to the king of Egypt from the river Euphrates to the brook of Egypt," Nebuchadnezzar turned his arms back against Jerusalem to punish the rebels.[614] Jehoiakim had recently died, and the people had raised to the throne his son Jechoniah, a youth of eighteen years old. Jerusalem was invested by the Babylonian army: Nebuchadnezzar came in person to conduct the siege.[615] "By my life,"—such are the words Jeremiah puts in the mouth of Jehovah,—"if Jechoniah were a signet on my right hand, I would pluck him off, and give him into the hands of those who seek after his life, into the hands of the Chaldæans. I cast thee away and thy mother into another land, and they shall not bring thee back unto the land whither thy heart yearns to return."[616] Jechoniah had only sat three months on the throne when he saw himself compelled by the advance of the siege to open the gates of Jerusalem to the enemy. With his mother Nehustha, who appears to have been[Pg 333] regent for him, with the officers of his household and the eunuchs, he went into the camp of the Chaldæans to give himself up to the king of Babylon (597 B.C.).[617]

Nebuchadnezzar wished to be secure of the obedience of the Jews; he did not intend that the hope of Egypt should again bring them under arms. He caused not only the young king and his mother, the courtiers, the treasures, and the best furniture of the temple to be carried to Babylon, but also the influential people in the city, the captains of the army, and all the men of war in Jerusalem to the number of 7000. In order to disarm the city more completely, the workers in iron, the smiths and lock-smiths, were carried away. In all, 10,023 souls were transplanted by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylonia, only people of no importance are said to have been left in Jerusalem. In Jechoniah's place Nebuchadnezzar set up his uncle Zedekiah, the fourth son of Josiah, as viceroy, and pledged him to obedience and fidelity by joining hands and taking an oath.[618] The Jews carried away were settled, after the example of the Assyrian princes, in Babylonia, in part on the Chaboras.

These rules for securing the obedience of the small territory did not break the tough spirit of the Jews, their stubborn resistance, or their eager desire for freedom and independence. Zedekiah and those around him felt the disgrace of the yoke which was laid upon them, and shared with the mass of the people the desire to shake it off on the first opportunity. Many prophets favoured this tendency and[Pg 334] promised victory and success to a new rebellion in arms. Not long after Zedekiah had been placed on the throne, the prophet Hananiah of Gibeon announced before all the people in the temple: "In two years Jehovah will bring back to this place all the furniture of the temple which Nebuchadnezzar has carried to Babylon; and I will bring back, saith Jehovah, Jechoniah the king of Judah and all the captives, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon."[619] Jeremiah came forward in opposition and said: "Wooden yokes thou wilt break, and lay on iron yokes. Behold, I will remove thee from the earth, saith Jehovah; in this year thou shalt die, for thou hast counselled rebellion." And Hananiah died, as tradition adds, in the same year, in the seventh month.[620]

Jeremiah was never weary of opposing to the uttermost any view of this kind. To him the Chaldæans were the instrument of Jehovah for the punishment of the nations: to endure their rule was, in his view, the will of Jehovah; any one who resisted the Chaldæans only brought on himself a heavier yoke, and called down destruction more completely on his head. If Isaiah had at least cherished the belief in the continuance of Jerusalem and the temple, Jeremiah, as we have seen, did not share in this hope. And therefore he preached without ceasing submission to the yoke, and patient obedience; he was unwearied in taking from the people every prospect of rescue; he sent letters to the Jews transplanted to Babylonia, and urged them not to enter into conspiracies; he went so far as to commend the lot of these captives, and requested them to build houses in Babylon, and pray to Jehovah for the welfare of that country.[621] But though the national[Pg 335] feelings and impulses of his nation were unknown to a prophet whose eyes were directed upwards, though for him the feeling of nationality was lost in religious conceptions,—the efforts of the people to win back its independent existence, the stubborn tenacity with which the Jews were ready to fight for their fatherland, and break the yoke of the foreigner, even when they rested on deceptive calculations, were not less justified than the intelligent calculation of the impossibility of such an attempt; and even from the lofty religious position of Jeremiah, who regarded nothing but the inward salvation, the purity, and elevation of the heart, could claim appreciation, since even the common children of earth must have their rights. Who could blame those who, even in the most hopeless, desperate condition, estimated more highly the duty of dying for their country, than the advice to submit quietly to the conqueror? That persons who held these views should consider this step on the part of Jeremiah as a corrupt movement, should demand that the prophet take the side of his own nation against the foreigner, and brand his predictions as treason to the state, is easily intelligible.

In such a sharp opposition of views, and in the strained position of affairs in which Judah found herself between Babylon and Egypt, it was impossible but that heavy accusations should be brought against Jeremiah, and a hot persecution set on foot against him. He complains bitterly how he was daily mocked and derided;[622] he is in despair and laments his destiny; he tells us how he had determined to speak no more in the name of Jehovah, but the inward voice compelled him; the fire was kindled in his heart: "I could not stay."[623] "Cursed[Pg 336] be the day," he exclaims, "on which I was born! cursed be the man who brought glad tidings to my father, and said unto him, 'A son is born unto thee!' Why, Jehovah, didst thou not slay me in the womb, that I should see labour and sorrow, and consume my days with shame?"[624] These moods alternate with a fierce desire for vengeance on his opponents. He is guiltless. Jehovah has driven him forth to speak, and put his word in his mouth; he has often besought Jehovah to turn away from Judah the day of destruction: Jehovah, for whom he suffers, must avenge him on his enemies. He is so embittered and angry that he even calls down bloody destruction upon his enemies. "Look on me, Jehovah," he says, "and avenge me of my persecutors, and know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke.[625] I have not desired the woful day, thou knowest: that which came out from my lips was before thee.[626] If thy words came to me, I took them eagerly, and they are the joy and rejoicing of my heart; I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced. I sat alone, for thou hast filled me with indignation. I was like a lamb led to the slaughter, and knew not that they had devised devices against me.[627] Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable?[628] Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? Wherefore are they happy that deal very treacherously?[629] Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of destruction.[630] Consider how I stand before thee, to turn away thy wrath from them. Therefore give up their children to the famine, and deliver them to the sword. [Pg 337]Let their men be the sacrifice of death, and their women bereaved and widows. Thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me; forgive them not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight."[631] Jeremiah then received the answer of Jehovah, who said to him: "Gird thy loins; speak to them all that I bid thee; be not afraid of them. I will make thee a fenced city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land; against the king, the priests, the elders, and the people. They shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee; I will save thee from the hand of the wicked, and deliver thee from the grasp of the furious."[632]

So Jeremiah prophesied again: "No doubt, their prophets say to them: Ye shall not see the sword nor shall ye have famine, but the Lord will give you happy days in this land. But Jehovah saith: I have not commanded them nor spoken to them; they prophesy a false vision, and the deceit of their heart, and divination. By the sword and famine shall they perish. The people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem.[633] They will say: We acknowledge, O Jehovah, our iniquity, and the sin of our fathers, but do not abhor us, for thy name's sake; do not disgrace the throne of thy glory; break not thy covenant with us. But Jehovah saith to me: Pray not for this people; though Moses and Samuel stood before me, my mind could not be towards them.[634] Sorrow not with them. I have taken from them my salvation, my grace, and mercy. The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and graven with the point of a diamond upon the table of their hearts, and upon the horns of their altars."[635][Pg 338]

In such a contest of opposite views, in such an alternation of moods, four years had passed for the Jews after Zedekiah was placed by Nebuchadnezzar upon the throne, when the kings of Sidon and Tyre sent to Jerusalem to call on the Jews to revolt against Nebuchadnezzar, by whose attack they were threatened. Messengers also came from the Ammonites and the Moabites, who had been in subjection longer than the Jews, and from the Edomites (593 B.C.). If their forces were united there seemed to be a prospect of success in resistance and rebellion, and the reduction of the Phenician cities might be prevented. But Jeremiah spoke to the envoys in the name of Jehovah: "I have made the earth, the man and the beast, and I gave them to whom it seemed meet to me; and now I give all these lands into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him the beasts of the field also to serve him. And the nation and the kingdom which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar,—that nation I will punish with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. If ye put your necks in the yoke of Babylon, ye shall live."[636] This time the view of the prophet prevailed; Zedekiah repaired in person to Babylon obviously to assure Nebuchadnezzar of his fidelity.[637] The Phenicians were left to their fate, and subjugated by Nebuchadnezzar.[638] Only Sidon seems to have made a vigorous resistance.[639] The island city of Tyre retained her independence.[Pg 339]

In the year 589 B.C., Hophrah, the grandson of Necho, ascended the throne of Egypt. Zedekiah soon directed his eyes to the new ruler of the valley of the Nile. He showed himself ready to venture on the struggle with Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah dissuaded them: "Egypt is a very fair heifer," he exclaims, "but destruction cometh from the North. O thou daughter, dwelling in Egypt, furnish thyself to go into captivity; for Noph (Memphis) shall be waste, and burnt, and desolate without an inhabitant. The hired men in the midst of her are like fatted bullocks, for they also are turned back and are fled away together; they did not stand because the day of their calamity was come upon them, the time of their visitation. The daughter of Egypt shall be confounded. Thus saith Jehovah of Hosts: Behold, I will punish Ammon of No (Thebes), and Pharaoh and Egypt, with their gods and their kings, even Pharaoh and all them that trust in him. And I will deliver them into the hand of those that seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants."[640]

But the prince and people of Judah were not to be restrained. Building on the help of Egypt, Zedekiah, in the year 588 B.C., took up arms against Babylonia.[641] But before Hophrah had finished his preparations Nebuchadnezzar was in Judah with a powerful army.[642] The strong places were invested: one city after another surrendered, only Lachish and Aseka resisted for any length of time.[643] "At the meeting of the ways," says the prophet Ezekiel, "the king of Babylon[Pg 340] halts to make divination; he shakes his arrows, consults with the teraphim, looks in the liver of the victim. In his right hand is the divination for Jerusalem, to throw up a wall against Jerusalem, to build towers, to appoint battering-rams against the gates, to lift up the voice with shouting. The head-band will be taken, and the crown removed from the prince of Israel."[644]

The siege of Jerusalem commenced. If in former times, when the Assyrians were encamped before Jerusalem, Isaiah had urged the nation and king to a courageous endurance though arms had been taken up against his advice, the absoluteness of his deep conviction, the certainty which he had received from above, did not permit Jeremiah to take up the attitude of his great predecessor; on the contrary, he did not cease even now to condemn the resistance in the strongest terms. In his eyes it was a rebellion against the counsels of God, against the divine order of the world. When Zedekiah sent to him, to bid him inquire of Jehovah about the issue of the siege, Jeremiah answered: "I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, wherewith ye fight against the king of Babylon, and I will bring the Chaldæans into the city. I will fight against you with an outstretched arm, and will deliver the city into the hands of the king of Babylon, that he may burn it, and I will visit your inhabitants with famine, sword, and pestilence, and those that are left I will give into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, that he may smite them with the edge of the sword. I set before you the way of life and the way of death; he that abideth in the city shall fall by the sword; but he that goeth out and falleth to the Chaldæans he shall live."[645] Though these announcements were adapted to undermine[Pg 341] the courage and strength of the resistance, and heavy as was the weight given to them by the position which Jeremiah held among the prophets, they did not discourage the king and the population of the metropolis. The debtors and all slaves of Hebrew birth were set at liberty in order to strengthen the numbers for the defence.

Success seemed to come to the aid of their endurance and courage. The Egyptian army advanced and compelled the Chaldæans to raise the siege of Jerusalem (587 B.C.).[646] There was time to recover breath. Had not Jehovah again delivered Jerusalem as in the day when Sennacherib oppressed the city? Jeremiah's dreary proclamations seemed contradicted. But he persisted in his position and announced: "Pharaoh's army which is come forth to help you shall return into Egypt, and the Chaldæans shall come again before the city, and shall take it. And though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldæans and there remained but wounded men in their tents, they would rise up and burn Jerusalem with fire."[647] It was natural that Jeremiah, in consequence of these speeches and predictions, should appear a traitor in the eyes of the nation, who were struggling for freedom and existence. When, availing himself of the raising of the siege, he wished to go to his plot of ground at Anathoth, he was seized in the gate as a deserter to the Chaldæans and thrown into prison. Yet the king allowed him to be kept in less severe custody, and soon set him at liberty.[648]

The prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled. The[Pg 342] Egyptians were defeated. Invested once more, Jerusalem was pressed more severely than ever.[649] The lines of the Chaldæans ran even to the walls of the city,[650] but the defenders were unwearied. The houses and even the buildings of the palaces were in part pulled down in order to strengthen the shattered walls, or build new portions.[651] That Jeremiah under such circumstances continued to preach the abandonment of the siege, and subjection to the Chaldæans, roused at length the captains. They demanded his death from the king: "He weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain, and the hands of the people: he seeketh not the welfare of the Jews, but the hurt."[652] As Zedekiah allowed them to do with Jeremiah according to their pleasure, they seized him, brought him for custody to the hill of Zion, and there caused him to be thrown into the well of the prison. But there was only mud in the well, and when an Ethiopian eunuch of the king interceded with him for the prophet, Zedekiah gave command that Jeremiah should be taken out of the well, and confined in the court of the prison.[653]

Meantime "the famine prevailed in the city;" the distress rose to the highest pitch. "The priests and the elders," so we are told in the Lamentations, "sought food in vain: the sword destroys without, the famine within. The people sought food with sighs, and whatsoever a man had of price he gave for food. The children and the sucklings swooned; they cried to their mothers, where is corn and wine, when they[Pg 343] swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mothers' bosoms. Better was it for those who were slain with the sword than for those who were slain with hunger; the hands of pitiful women have sodden their children for food."[654] At length the Chaldæans, whose attack was directed to the most accessible part, the north side of the city, succeeded in taking the suburb surrounded by the outer wall.[655] Having gained possession of this, they directed their efforts against the middle gate, which guarded the entrance into the city beside the fortress of Millo (p. 128). Led by Nergal Sarezer, and Sarsechim, the captain of the eunuchs, the Babylonians took the middle gate in the night by storm, and firmly established themselves there. Zedekiah despaired of being able to maintain the city any longer, with the motley crowd of soldiers weakened by hunger, and the inhabitants who doubtless suffered still more in numbers and strength. He attempted to break through with his army. He succeeded in passing the lines and gaining the open country, but the Chaldæans in pursuit came up with the troop which had so boldly broken out in the plain of Jericho. The troop was dispersed; a part, including Zedekiah, was captured, the rest escaped. The inhabitants, even after the king and army had left the city, stubbornly defended themselves in the various parts—in the citadel and the temple—so that some weeks elapsed before the city was completely in the hands of the Babylonians (July, 586 B.C.). The siege had lasted one year five months and seven days.[656][Pg 344]

The first rebellion of the Jews had been punished by Nebuchadnezzar by the dethronement and abduction of the king, by carrying away the influential people and the army of Jerusalem, and by disarming the city. These arrangements had not been sufficient to secure the obedience of the little country. For the future Egypt was no longer to find confederates in Southern Syria, and support in Jerusalem. The stubborn resistance of the Jews was to be broken; an end must be put for ever to their intrigues with Egypt. Zedekiah, who was placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar himself, and swore obedience to him, was not to escape the punishment of this breach of faith. Nebuchadnezzar was not with the besieging army; he was at Riblah, on the Orontes, the grassy plain where Necho had pitched his camp after the battle of Megiddo. Thither Zedekiah was brought. In his presence were first executed the captive leaders of the Jews, and among them his own sons. Then his eyes were put out; he was laden with chains, and carried away to Babylon. There he died in prison.[657] The punishment of Jerusalem was carried out by Nebusaradan, the chief of the body-guard of Nebuchadnezzar. The high priest, Seraiah, together with the second priest, Zephaniah, the overseers of the temple, a number of public officers, and sixty of the most distinguished men in the city, were also taken to Riblah, and put to death, seventy-two in number.[658] The brazen pillars at the entrance to the temple, and the brazen sea (II. 182, 184), all the vessels and furniture[Pg 345] of the temple which still remained, and everything that was to be found of value in the palace, was carried off to Babylon.[659] The Chaldæan army levelled the walls; city, palace, and temple were burned to the ground. The inhabitants who survived were carried away, "except the poor people who had nothing;" even from the country the richer men were carried away with their wives and children, and only the common people left behind.[660] Over the remnant of the population a Jew, Gedaliah, the son of Ahikam (p. 317), who must previously have given proof of his Chaldæan sentiments, was placed as viceroy. He took up his abode in Mizpeh, where a Babylonian garrison remained.[661]

"O daughter of Zion, let thy tears flow like rivers day and night"—so the Jews lamented—"give thyself no rest. The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world would not have believed that the besieging army could have entered into the gates of Jerusalem. Jehovah hath cast off his altar, and abhorred his sanctuary. The stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street. The Lord hath thrown down from heaven to earth the beauty of Jerusalem, and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger. He hath poured out his fury like fire upon the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion.[662] The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground and keep silence; they cast dust upon their heads; they are girded with sackcloth. The virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the earth. They that go by strike the hands together, and shake the head over[Pg 346] the daughter of Jerusalem. Is this the city which was called the garland of beauty, the joy of the whole earth? Thy enemies shoot out their lips at thee; hiss and say: We have swallowed her up: this is the day that we looked for; we have done it. The gates are desolate; the ways to Zion mourn; no one cometh to the festival. Behold and see, all ye that pass by, if there is any sorrow like unto my sorrow.[663] Our possession is fallen to strangers, our houses to aliens; we are orphans without a father; our mothers are like widows. Servants rule over us; they weaken our wives and virgins: they hang up the captains: they honour not the faces of the elders; we have drunken our water for money; our wood is sold to us. The young men grind the mill-stones, and the children fall under the wood.[664] The punishment of my people is greater than the punishment of Sodom.[665] All mine enemies rejoice at my trouble, and laugh at my overthrow, but thou, Jehovah, will bring the day when they will be as I am; do to them as thou hast done to me.[666] Our fathers have sinned and are not; we have borne their iniquities. Take us again to thee, Jehovah; is it right that thou shouldest utterly throw us away and be so wroth with us?"[667]

Jeremiah was still a prisoner in the court of the citadel when the Chaldæans forced their way into it. With the rest of the inhabitants of Jerusalem he had been taken to Ramah, in order to be carried away into Babylonia from thence, when Nebusaradan, at the command of Nebuchadnezzar, to whom in the interim Jeremiah's conduct must have been known, caused his fetters to be taken off, and gave him the choice[Pg 347] whether he would remain or go to Babylonia. It was in his power to go where he would: if he went to Babylonia he would not be neglected there. Jeremiah answered that he wished to remain in the land. Nebusaradan then gave him maintenance and a present, and put him in the hands of the viceroy, Gedaliah, to convey him to his house at Anathoth.

Gedaliah exercised his new authority in a spirit of conciliation; he attempted to establish order and peace. If Nebusaradan, before his departure from the conquered city, had given the unoccupied fields and vineyards before the gates to the people "who had nothing," Gedaliah summoned his countrymen who had fled to the Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites, back to Mizpeh, "and they gathered summer fruits and wine in great abundance." He also entered into negotiations with the chieftains and their soldiers, who with Zedekiah had broken through the lines and escaped the defeat at Jericho, in order to put an end to their plundering in the land; he offered to give up to them the places of which they had taken possession; if they would dwell there and serve the king of Babylon it would be well with them.[668] The greater number accepted these proposals, and put themselves under the rule of Gedaliah, whose wise arrangements had their effect, and seemed to promise further success. Jeremiah himself remained at Mizpeh with Gedaliah, to whose action his advice, counsel, and influence could give considerable support.[669] Two months had not passed since the capture of Jerusalem, and already a number of men out of Samaria, Shechem, and Shilo, ventured to go to the ruins of Jerusalem with frankincense and meat-offerings, in order to sacrifice at the holy place, the seat of the temple.[Pg 348]

In the hearts of the great majority fierce resentment must have been raging against the destroyers of Jerusalem and the temple, against the conquerors of Judah. If Nebuchadnezzar could not be reached, his viceroy was in the land. A distinguished man of the Jewish stock had submitted to be the servant of the deadly enemy. This traitor and servant could be found. Ishmael, a man of the royal blood, and of the family of David,[670] one of the fugitives, came with ten men to Mizpeh. He put on the appearance of submission. Gedaliah invited him to the banquet, at which with his associates he cut down Gedaliah, the Chaldæans, and the Jews who were present. The king's daughter and others who had been placed in Gedaliah's care, the Jews who were assembled at Mizpeh, followed Ishmael. He acted in union with Baalis, the king of Ammon, with whom he had intended to take refuge. But the other chieftains, who had made their peace with Gedaliah, pursued after him, overtook him at the pool of Gibeon, and took away the prisoners from him; Ishmael himself escaped to the king of Ammon.

The chiefs of the Jews, who were assembled at Mizpeh, were afraid that Nebuchadnezzar would still avenge on them the murder of Gedaliah. They resolved to fly to Egypt. Jeremiah was to entreat Jehovah, and declare his will to them. After ten days the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, and he spake: "Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, for I am with you, saith Jehovah, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication. I am with you to help you, and deliver you from the hand of the king of Babylon. If ye will not obey the voice of Jehovah, your God, saying: We will go into the land of Egypt, where we[Pg 349] shall see no war nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; the sword which ye feared shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine whereof ye were afraid shall follow close upon you, and there shall ye die. Jehovah hath spoken to you, ye remnant of Judah. Go ye not into Egypt; know certainly that I have admonished you this day." The warning voice was in vain. With the captains at their head, the fugitives who had assembled at Mizpeh, and the king's daughters, men and women, and all whom Nebusaradan had left behind with Gedaliah, set out to Egypt. Jeremiah and Baruch also followed, apparently under compulsion.

The fate which the Assyrians had prepared for the state of the ten tribes 136 years previously had now fallen on the kingdom of Judah. The temple was destroyed with the metropolis, and with the temple the last hope of the nation was gone; the remainder of the community, founded under Joshua's guidance 700 years previously, was annihilated; the sanctuaries were in the hands of the conqueror. Like the Israelites, the nation of Judah was now shattered and torn asunder. By the canals in Egypt, and by the waters of Babylon, on the Chaboras in Mesopotamia, and on the mouths of the Nile, lingered the fugitives and exiles.[671] Nothing remained to them but the remembrance of David's glory, and sorrow for the fall of Israel. But the longer duration which was allowed to the kingdom of Judah had borne good fruits. It had given the Jews time to strengthen and deepen their religious and national feeling. It was not merely that the throne of Judah remained in the possession of the descendants of David, or that the kingdom of Judah possessed a highly revered centre in the temple, and[Pg 350] thus had maintained a strong organisation of the priesthood; in the sufferings and struggles of the last seventy years these priests, in connection with the prophets, and filled with their views, had learned to regard the faith in Jehovah in a more inward manner, and plant it more deeply in the hearts of the people. They had given a legal basis to the worship of Jehovah, and exalted it to be the recognised religion of the state. If by this means the state gained nothing in regard to external power and security, an inestimable treasure was gained in regard to the confirmation and development of religious feeling. There was hardly any fear that the captive and fugitive Jews would lose themselves in the foreign nations among whom they dwelt, like the Israelites, who had been transplanted to Assyria and Media, or that they would give up their national faith. Behind the punishment induced by the sins of the people, the prophets had proclaimed the restoration of the purified Israel. The punishment had burst upon them, they did not doubt that the restoration would come. If Asshur had fallen, the hour of Babylon might strike; Jeremiah had already fixed the time for it. Thus the destruction of their state and their shrines did not make the Jews despair of the help of their God, or cause them to fall from their faith. Those who remained behind, no less than those who were driven out, cherished the hope of Jehovah's help as deeply as they felt the pain of the fall of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem fell nineteen years after the battle of Karchemish. Step by step Nebuchadnezzar had overcome Syria. First Arpad, Hamath and Damascus had succumbed, then the Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites. After Judah had recognised his supremacy in the year 600 B.C., the rebellion on which Jehoiakim ventured[Pg 351] three years afterwards had brought upon that country a severe punishment, and a condition of greater dependence. Four years afterwards, 593 B.C., the cities of the Phenicians were reduced except Tyre. The second rebellion of Judah was followed by the annihilation of the country. The prophets of the Jews looked forward to the war of Nebuchadnezzar against Egypt—to the punishment for the campaign which Hophrah had undertaken against Syria, and which had compelled Nebuchadnezzar to raise the siege of Jerusalem. Ezekiel, who was among the Jews carried away with Jechoniah in 597 B.C., and with part of them had received a habitation on the Chaboras beyond the Euphrates, proclaimed the destruction and fall of Egypt. "Egypt," he says, "has been a staff of reed to the house of Israel. When they took hold of thee by the hand then thou didst break, and rend all their shoulder; and when they leaned upon thee, thou didst break and madest their loins to totter. Thou wast as a dragon in the seas, and camest forth in thy rivers. The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon thee. By the swords of the mighty will I cause thy multitudes to fall: and I will water with thy blood the land wherein thou swimmest, even to the mountain; I will destroy all the beasts thereof from beside the great waters; neither shall the foot of man, nor the hoof of beasts, trouble them any more. Go down to them that are sunk in the pit, and be thou laid with the uncircumcised."[672] The same fortune was announced to the Pharaoh Hophrah and his land by Jeremiah among the emigrants at Tachpanhes[673] on the Pelusiac arm of the Nile: "Behold, I will give Pharaoh[Pg 352] Hophrah, king of Egypt, into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life, as I gave Zedekiah, king of Judah, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, his enemy, that sought his life. Behold, I will send and fetch Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant. At the entrance of Pharaoh's house, in Tachpanhes, he will spread out his royal pavilion, and he will come and smite the land of Egypt, and deliver to death such as are for death, and to captivity such as are for captivity, and to the sword such as are for the sword. And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt, and he shall burn them and carry them away captive, and he shall break the pillars of Bethshemesh (the obelisks of Heliopolis), and the houses of the gods of Egypt shall he burn with fire."[674]

Nebuchadnezzar did not fulfil these expectations. He was not a conqueror who sought to press on beyond all bounds, and extend his power further and further. On the contrary, he sought to keep his empire within the natural boundaries, and not go beyond the desert which separated him from Egypt. The subjugation of Syria was not complete so long as Tyre did not obey his authority. He directed his arms not against Hophrah but against Tyre. It was difficult to reach the island city without a fleet. Nevertheless Ezekiel looked forward to the speedy success of the Babylonians, and the immediate fall of the great trading city. Tyre will fall because she rejoiced over the fall of Jerusalem, because she cried: "I shall be full, since thou art desolate."[675] He describes in a lively manner[Pg 353] how Nebuchadnezzar will set up his battering-rams against the walls of Tyre; how he will throw down their towers with his engines of war; will cast up a trench against them, and raise the shield upon them.[676] He sees the island already changed into a naked rock for spreading out nets.[677] These prophecies also were not fulfilled in their whole extent. The siege, after the capture of the old city, was no more than a blockade from the mainland, a cutting off of all intercourse of the city towards the coast, such as had once before been carried on in the time of Shalmanesar IV. and Assurbanipal of Assyria (pp. 83, 166), and now as then it was only feebly sustained from the sea by the ships which the subject neighbour-harbours had to furnish. Nebuchadnezzar's troops are said to have remained thirteen years before Tyre. The blockade was brought to an end, as it seems, in the year 573 B.C., by an arrangement in which the Tyrians recognised the[Pg 354] supremacy of the king of Babylon. "A heavy service," says the prophet Ezekiel, "has Nebuchadnezzar compelled his army to perform against Tyre. Every head is bald, and every shoulder peeled, and there is no wages in his army for Tyre." The Tyrians, as it seems, allowed Nebuchadnezzar to elect their king. Ethbaal, king of Tyre, resigned the throne, and Nebuchadnezzar set up Baal in his place.[678]

After repeated struggles Nebuchadnezzar had driven the Egyptians out of Syria, had repulsed their attempts to support the rebellions of the Syrians. In addition to the tribes of the Arabs between Libanus and Antilibanus he had brought the states and cities of the Syrians to obedience; he had united under his supremacy the Semitic tribes from the Tigris to the Syrian coast, from the Persian to the Arabian Gulf. Never had the ancient kingdom of Babylon won such power, and taken up such a position. Yet this wide extent of dominion scarcely bore comparison with the empire of the Medes, in concert with which Babylonia had overthrown the Assyrians. But the territory of Babylon between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, as compared with the long stretch of the Median Empire, which reached from the Halys to the middle, and to the southern edge of the table-land of Iran, was better rounded off, and the population of Babylonia[Pg 355] was more homogeneous. It belonged to one tribe only. These advantages, combined with the profuse fertility and the highly-developed industrial activity of the native land, with the trade and maritime resources of the Phenician cities, could compensate to Babylonia in intensive power the advantage which Media had in extent. For the present the courts of Babylon, Media, and Lydia, were peacefully connected by the ties of relationship.


[588] Above, p. 250. Joseph. "c. Apion.," 1, 19. "Antiq." 10, 11, 2.

[589] Ezek. i. 1, 3; iii. 15, 23; x. 15; xx. 22; xliii. 3.

[590] Jerem. ii. 23.

[591] Jerem. xiii. 23.

[592] Jerem. xxiii. 5.

[593] Jerem. xxxi. 31-35.

[594] Jerem. xxvi. 1-5, 13.

[595] Jerem. vii. 18.

[596] Jerem. vii. 1-15; viii. 8; xxvi. 6.

[597] Micah iii. 12.

[598] Jerem. xxv. 1-3. By this date the identity of these warnings with the writing which, according to xxxvi. 1, 2, was read on the fast day, is established, an identity which is also proved by internal reasons.

[599] Jerem. ch. xxv.

[600] Jerem. xxxvi. 1, 22.

[601] Jerem. xxxvi. 9-26.

[602] Beros. ap. Joseph. "Antiq." 10, 11, 2. "c. Apion," 1, 19. In these passages the acts of Nebuchadnezzar in Syria are put together in such a general way, that from them we cannot draw the conclusion that Nebuchadnezzar in his first campaign into Syria passed the borders of Judah, and that even then he had not only set foot in Syria but had incorporated it. The uncertainty of the succession in the new kingdom must have called him back as quickly as possible to his home, and the retirement of the whole army is expressly mentioned. Besides, from Jeremiah xxxvi. 1, 9, 22, and xxv. 1, 3, it follows that Nebuchadnezzar, in the years 605-604 B.C., and 604-603 B.C., i. e. in the fourth and fifth of the reign of Jehoiakim, had not yet marched with his army through Judah. Joseph., "Antiq." 10, 6, 1, represents Nebuchadnezzar as conquering Syria, except Judah, after the victory of Karchemish. The statement in the Book of Daniel (i. 1 ff) that Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim, i. e. in the year 606-605 B.C., is not a cogent proof.

[603] Jerem. xxv. 20-23; xlix. 28-33.

[604] Habakkuk i. 6-11.

[605] Habakkuk iii. 16.

[606] Habakkuk i. 17; ii. 5-8.

[607] Jerem. xlix. 19.

[608] Jerem. xlix. 28-33.

[609] Jerem. xlix. 3.

[610] Jerem. xlviii. 40, 46.

[611] Jerem. xlix. 23, 24.

[612] Jerem. xlix. 16.

[613] 2 Kings xxiv. If it is stated here that Jehoiakim served Nebuchadnezzar for three years, and then revolted from him; if the punishment for this revolt falls not on him but on his successor Jechoniah, it is clear that these three years must be reckoned from the end of the reign of Jehoiakim, so that in this way the first subjugation falls in the year 600 B.C. So Josephus ("Antiq." 10, 6, 1,) states that the subjugation of Jehoiakim took place in the eighth year of his reign, i. e. in 601-600 B.C.

[614] 2 Kings xxiv. 1-10. That Jehoiakim could not have attempted a rebellion without reliance on the help of Egypt, is clear without further proof. Josephus ("Antiq." 10, 6, 2) says: Jehoiakim had revolted because he heard that the Egyptians were taking the field against Nebuchadnezzar; but the Egyptians had not had the courage really to take the field. An attack of Nebuchadnezzar on Egypt, as well as Egyptian prisoners who are led from Syria to Babylonia, are mentioned in the statements of Berosus, quoted by Josephus above, p. 328, n. But these statements are so general that they may also be referred to the war which Nebuchadnezzar carried on with the Egyptians in 587 B.C., p. 341. Nevertheless, the observation in the Second Book of Kings, which follows after Jehoiakim's death, "that Nebuchadnezzar had taken all the land, as far as the brook of Egypt (2 xxiv. 7), which belonged to the king of Egypt," may have reference to a struggle then going on with Egypt. Beyond their own borders the Egyptians could only have maintained Gaza, and a few other cities of the Phenicians. The statement of the Chronicles that Jehoiakim was carried to Babylon in chains cannot be maintained against the accounts of the Books of Kings.

[615] 2 Kings xxiv. 10, 11.

[616] Jerem. xxii. 24-27.

[617] This date is fixed by the remark that it occurred in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings xxiv. 12).

[618] Ezekiel xvii. 13. 2 Kings xxiv. 13-17. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 13. In Jerem. xxxix. 1-3, and lii. 28, the number of the captives is given at 3023; the passages quoted from the Books of Kings put the number of the soldiers at 7000, of the captives generally at 10,000.

[619] Jerem. xxviii. 1-4.

[620] Jerem. xxviii. 12-17.

[621] Jerem. xxix.; cf. xxiv. 5 ff.

[622] Jerem. xx. 7, 8.

[623] Jerem. xx. 9.

[624] Jerem. xx. 14-18.

[625] Jerem. xv. 15.

[626] Jerem. xvii. 6.

[627] Jerem. xi. 19.

[628] Jerem. xv. 16-18.

[629] Jerem. xii. 1.

[630] Jerem. xii. 3.

[631] Jerem. xviii. 21-23.

[632] Jerem. i. 17-19; xv. 20, 21.

[633] Jerem. xiv. 11-16.

[634] Jerem. xiv. 20-22; xv. 1.

[635] Jerem. xvii. 1.

[636] Jerem. xxvii. 1-12.

[637] Jerem. li. 59.

[638] This conclusion is rendered certain by the fact that afterwards the island city of Tyre is the only one spoken of as not subjugated. Cf. p. 352.

[639] Ezek. xxxii. 29 mentions Sidon among the nations which had succumbed to the sword of the king before the twentieth year of Nebuchadnezzar. Cf. xxviii. 21-26. Jerem. xlvii. 4.

[640] Jerem. xlvi. 19, 26. The position of affairs shows that this announcement belongs to this date. According to Ezek. viii. 1, Zedekiah appears to have had dealings with Egypt as early as 591 B.C. Cf. Joseph. "Antiq." 10, 7, 5.

[641] 2 Kings xxv. 1-3, 8. Jerem. xxxiv. 1-7. Ezek. xxiv. 1.

[642] 2 Kings xxv. 1.

[643] Jerem. xxxiv. 7.

[644] Ezek. xxi. 21, 22, 25, 26.

[645] Jerem. xxi. 1, 10.

[646] Jerem. xxxvii. 5. Ezekiel prophesies the ruin of the Egyptians in the tenth month of the tenth year of his captivity, i. e. in the year 587 B.C.; in this year, no doubt, the march of the Egyptians took place.

[647] Jerem. xxxvii. 6-10.

[648] Jerem. xxxvii. 11-21.

[649] Joseph. "Antiq." 10, 7, 1. Ezek. xvii. 17. At the beginning of the eleventh year of Zedekiah (586B.C.), Ezekiel says: "I have broken the arm of Pharaoh," xxx. 21; cf. xxxi. 1.

[650] 2 Kings xxv. 1-3. Jerem. lii. 4, 5. Cf. Ezek. iv. 2; xvii. 17; xxi. 21.

[651] Jerem. xxxiii. 4.

[652] Jerem. xxxviii. 4.

[653] Jerem. xxxvii. 21; xxxviii. 28.

[654] Jerem. xix. 9. Ezek. iv. 16, 17; v. 11, 12. Lamentations i. 19, 20; ii. 20; iv. 9, 10; ii. 11, 12.

[655] Vol. II., p. 186. Jerem. xxxix. 3; lii. 6, 7. 2 Kings xxv. 3, 4. It was this outer wall of which the western front had to be pulled down for 400 cubits under Amaziah. Vol. II., p. 261.

[656] The capture took place in the fourth month of the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah, in the nineteenth of Nebuchadnezzar. Cf. Ideler, "Handbuch der Chronologie," 1, 529. Ezekiel, chap. xii.

[657] Jerem. xxxix. 6, 7; lii. 11. 2 Kings xxv. 7.

[658] Jerem. xxxix. 6, where the statement is quite general, "all the nobles of Judah also the king of Babylon slew;" and lii. 16, "all the princes of Judah also he slew at Riblah."

[659] 2 Kings xxv. 13-17. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 18. Jerem. lii. 12-28. The ark of the covenant was not mentioned separately; it may have been already taken away in 597 B.C.

[660] 2 Kings xxv. 8-11, 18-21. Jerem. xxxix. 9, 10.

[661] Jerem. xl. 5-10.

[662] Lamentations iv. 12; ii. 7; iv. 1.

[663] Lamentations ii. 14-18; i. 12.

[664] Lamentations v. 1-14.

[665] Lamentations iv. 6.

[666] Lamentations i. 7, 21, 22.

[667] Lamentations v. 7, 21, 22.

[668] Jerem. xl. 9.

[669] Jerem. xl. 6.

[670] Jerem. xl. 8.

[671] Jerem. xxiv. 1, 8; chaps. xl.-xliv. Ezek. i. 1-3, &c.

[672] The announcements of Ezekiel, chaps, xxix.-xxxii., belong to the period from the tenth to the twelfth year of the captivity, i. e. to the years 587 to 585 B.C.

[673] Daphne in Herod. 2, 30, 107.

[674] Jerem. xliii. 8-13; xliv. 30.

[675] Ezekiel, chaps, xxvi.-xxviii. The prophecy begins in the eleventh year after the captivity of Jechoniah, on the first day of the month, and therefore four months before the capture of Jerusalem; from xxvi. 7 it is clear that the siege of Tyre had not yet begun: because Tyre rejoiced in the fall of Jerusalem, she also was to be destroyed. Afterwards, in the year 570 B.C., Ezekiel declares that the Chaldæans have received no reward for their heavy service against Tyre (xxix. 17). Hence the siege of Tyre, which, according to Josephus, lasted for 13 years, falls between 586-570 B.C. This result is confirmed by the quotations of Josephus from Phenician annals ("c. Apion." 1, 21; "Antiq." 10, 11, 1). According to these, Cyrus ascended the throne in the fourteenth year of Hiram, king of Tyre. Before Hiram Merbaal reigned for four years; before him the judges Mutton and Gerastrat, and king Balator, for six years, the arch-priest Abbar for three months, the judges Eknibal and Chelbes for 12 months, king Baal for 10 years, and before him Ithobal, under whom Tyre was besieged for 13 years. The reign of Cyrus is obviously calculated from the date at which he conquered Babylon and the Persians took the place of the Chaldæans, i. e. from the year 538 B.C. If we calculate the dates given by Josephus to this point, the siege of Tyre came to an end in the year 573 B.C., and began immediately after the conquest of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. The addition of Josephus that the siege of Tyre began in the seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar (599 B.C.) is a direct contradiction to the other more detailed statements. No doubt we ought to read the seventeenth year of Nebuchadnezzar for the seventh year with M. Niebuhr ("Assur und Babel," s. 107).

[676] Ezek. xxvi. 8, 9, 10.

[677] Ezek. xxvi. 14.

[678] That Tyre, though not captured, was subjugated by the Babylonians, must be concluded from the statement of Berosus, general though that is—that all Phœnicia was subjugated by Nebuchadnezzar (supr. p. 328, n.), and further from the fact that Josephus ("c. Apion." 1, 21) tells us that Merbaal and Hiram were fetched by the Tyrians from Babylon; and, finally, from the circumstance that the reign of Ithobal ceases with the end of the siege, and that of Baal commences. Hence it follows that Ithobal was deposed, and his race carried away to Babylon. That the deportation of kings and elevation of others in their place was usual among the Babylonians, as among the Assyrians, is clear from the example of Jechoniah, and from 2 Kings xxv. 28.



[Pg 356]



Assyria had become known to the Greeks about the time when Tiglath Pilesar II. had reduced Syria to submission, and the cities of the Phenicians were subject to the kings of Asshur—i. e. about the middle of the eighth century B.C. Hence for them the name Assyrians denoted the whole population of Asia from the Syrian coast to the Tigris, and the range of the Zagrus: "Syrians" is merely an abbreviated form of the name "Assyrians." In this sense Herodotus says: "After the fall of Nineveh Babylon was the chief city of the Assyrians."[679] As a fact Nebuchadnezzar had united under his dominion the whole of the Semitic tribes on both sides of the Syrian desert. The stubborn resistance of the Phenicians and Hebrews had been broken by repeated campaigns; at least, after the subjugation of Tyre, we hear no more of rebellion by a Syrian tribe against Babylonia.

Nebuchadnezzar was able to complete the work which his father Nabopolassar had commenced by liberating Babylon from Assyria after two centuries of supremacy and one century of dominion, and had secured by it the annihilation of Assyria. The second king of this name on the throne of Babylon[Pg 357]—Nebuchadnezzar I. had fought against Assyria with some success in the first half of the 12th century B.C. (II. 37)—he was the true founder of the new kingdom. Berosus is fully justified in saying of him, that he surpassed the achievements of all the earlier kings of the Chaldæans, though the addition that he ruled over Egypt, as well Phœnicia, Syria, and Arabia, is to be ascribed to the vainglory of the Babylonian.[680] Nebuchadnezzar was indeed a prince of extraordinary gifts. He proved himself a brave warrior in the great victory which he gained over the Egyptians at Karchemish, and in the subsequent campaigns against the Arabians, Syrians, and Egyptians. The fame of his battles reached the Greeks: we find Hellenic nobles, as Antimenidas of Lesbos, the brother of the poet Alcæus, in his army.[681] At Karchemish and in the south of Judah these had an opportunity of measuring themselves against their countrymen in the service of Necho and Hophrah. But Nebuchadnezzar did not allow the successes of his arms to tempt him beyond the limits which he had fixed for himself. He was not a conqueror in the Oriental sense, pressing onward to unlimited dominion. With a clear sense of his power, he placed bounds on his campaigns: as we saw, he refrained from attacking Egypt. His chief care was the secure foundation and continuance of his kingdom, and he clearly recognised the conditions which would promote this aim. The object, which he thus set before himself, he sought to realise with wisdom, with unwearied effort, and the greatest perseverance. He did much to promote the welfare of his kingdom; to encourage agriculture and trade; to improve the communications of Babylon by land and sea. He secured the strongest protection for his land and metropolis by a magnificent and well-[Pg 358]considered system of fortifications. He must be numbered among the foremost princes of the ancient East. An engraved stone in the Berlin Museum presents us with a head; the cuneiform letters round it tell us: "To Merodach Nabukudurussur, king of Babylon: in his life he prepared it."[682] It is a portrait in profile, quite different from the only other relief of a Babylonian king which has come down to us (I. 302); quite different also from the delineations of the Assyrian kings. Instead of the tall kidaris, and the long curled hair and beard, this head wears a closing helmet with a low ridge. The hair can be seen beneath it, but it does not fall on the neck: the face is smooth and beardless. The lines are round and full, the neck strong. Under the helmet protrudes the forehead, which slightly recedes; the brows are closely knit; there is a look of authority in the eye. The nose is straight and well-formed: the chin is short and round, and slightly elevated. It is the picture of a strong and even imperious will, a firm self-conscious power.

Babylon must have suffered severely in the repeated campaigns of Tiglath Pilesar II., Sargon, Sennacherib, and Assurbanipal, in the struggle for the possession of the Chaldæan districts, for Bit Yakin and Babylon. Babylon was besieged and taken by Sennacherib, and severely punished. The restorations of Esarhaddon were no doubt again destroyed at the second capture of the city by Assurbanipal. How far Nabopolassar succeeded in securing not Babylon only and the larger cities, but the country also from devastation and plunder by the Sacæ, we do not know. In any case there must everywhere have been deep and severe wounds in need of healing.

We saw that the produce of the agriculture of[Pg 359] Babylon, the fruit of the field, depended on the irrigation, the system of canals, and the regulation of the overflow of the Euphrates. Nebuchadnezzar must have commenced his work by putting in order the dams of the Euphrates, which it was no easy task to keep up, by providing with water-courses or cleaning out the canals which had become dry or blocked up.[683] The great canals of the old kings were still in existence, the canal of Hammurabi, the Narsares, the Pallakopas, and the connecting canals between the Euphrates and Tigris above Babylon.[684] Nebuchadnezzar must have taken measures for their restoration. He increased the number of the connections between the Euphrates and the Tigris, and made them more useful by cutting a new canal from the Euphrates to the Tigris, of sufficient dimensions to carry the largest vessels. This was the Nahr Malka, i. e. the king's trench. Herodotus calls it the largest of the Babylonian canals. According to Xenophon's statement there were four canals connecting the Euphrates and the Tigris, one hundred feet in breadth, and deep enough to carry even corn ships. They were bridged over, and about four miles from each other. From these were derived the canals of irrigation, first the large, then the small, and lastly runnels like those in Greece for watering the fields of millet. The larger canals of irrigation were so deep that the Greeks with Clearchus could not cross them without bridges; and for the construction of these the palms which shadowed the banks of the canals were felled. Clearchus and Xenophon crossed the two northernmost of the connecting canals in order to come from the Median wall to Sittace on the Tigris.[Pg 360] The first they crossed by the permanent bridge, the second by a bridge of boats supported by seven merchantmen. The lining of these canals was constructed of bricks, united with asphalt-mortar. There still exist four canals connecting the Tigris and the Euphrates. The Saklawiye is followed by the Nahr Sersar; further to the south is the Nahr Malka, which leaves the eastern bank of the Euphrates below Feludsha, in order to reach the Tigris at the point marked by the ruins of Seleucia—this is the great canal constructed by Nebuchadnezzar: lastly, immediately above Babylon, is the Nahr Kutha, named after the city of Kutha. Thus Nebuchadnezzar completed the old canal system of Babylon; he facilitated the communication between the two rivers in the upper part of the land, and increased the irrigation. He also gave attention to the lower land: between the Narsares and the Pallakopas, which carry away the overflow of the water of the Euphrates, below Babylon, he made trenches in order to drain the marsh, and he caused dams to be erected on the sea-coast in order to keep out the inundations of the sea.[685]

In order to avoid destructive floods at the time of the yearly inundation, in order to bring about a graduated and regular rise of the Euphrates, in order to receive the overflow in the years when the inundation was higher, and apply the water thus stored in the years of drought,—in a word, in order to have the[Pg 361] water of the Euphrates completely under control, Nebuchadnezzar took in hand, and completed, one of the most magnificent of hydraulic works. Above Babylon, and the four canals which connect the Euphrates with the Tigris on the northern border of Babylonia proper, lay the ancient city of Sippara (I. 257). Near this, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, was excavated a vast basin, not inferior to the artificial lake of Amenemha. The circuit of this basin is said to have been 420 stades (i. e. 50 miles); the depth reached 35 feet. The trenches and dams, which formed this basin, were cased, on the inclines, with masonry, and the excavated earth was used for the embankment of the Euphrates. According to the excerpt in Abydenus, Berosus allowed a circuit of 40 parasangs, i. e. 150 miles, for this basin, with a depth of 20 fathoms, and added that the sluices, which opened and shut of themselves, according to the level of the water in the basin of the Euphrates, irrigated the level land. If the circuit of the basin was really 50 miles, we must suppose that here, as in the lake of Amenemha, a low-lying strip of land was changed by embankment into a basin or wide reservoir.[686] With this great undertaking were[Pg 362] connected other hydraulic works erected at Ardericca. At this place Nebuchadnezzar caused a new bed to be excavated for the Euphrates, with sharp curves, either to lessen the force of the current, and make navigation up the current possible, or, which is more probable, because it was necessary to moderate the flow of the river in order to conduct the inundation into the basin at Sippara.[687] By means of this basin at Sippara Nebuchadnezzar really brought the Euphrates into his power. Even though the excess of the water of the stream might be too much for its large dimensions in any single year, the canals leading to the Tigris provided the means of carrying off the excess into that river, and at the same time it was possible owing to the connections to counteract by means of the Euphrates the inequality of the water in the lower Tigris.

The regulation of the inundation, of the bed and level of the Euphrates, and of the level of the Tigris, was not only an assistance to agriculture, but to trade also, inasmuch as it facilitated the navigation in both[Pg 363] streams. In this way trade received considerable support, and Nebuchadnezzar also paid attention to it beyond the borders of the Babylonian land. To his time apparently belongs the foundation of the Babylonian colony of Gerrha on the Arabian coast of the Persian Gulf. For the trade of Babylonia with South Arabia and the products of India which came to South Arabia (I. 305), it was important to avoid the transport by land and the middle trade of the Arabians, and to obtain those wares by direct marine trade with Babylonia. The building of the harbour city of Teredon at the mouth of the Euphrates, 400 miles below Babylon, which became the chief centre of the trade in Arabian spices, is, as we are definitely informed, the work of Nebuchadnezzar, and the Dedanites in whose land lay the colony of Gerrha (the modern Chatif) opposite the Bahrain islands, at a distance of 300 miles from Teredon, had been subjugated by Nebuchadnezzar (p. 329). The Gerrhæans brought the products and the incense of Arabia on board ship to Babylon; from hence it was sent up the river to Thapsacus, and from thence carried by land in every direction.[688] In this way the lucrative trade with South Arabia by the sea-route of the Persian Gulf must have been gained for Babylon. Hence it appears that Nebuchadnezzar built Teredon and founded Gerrha with the same object with which the Phenicians—in order to avoid the middle trade of the Arabians, and the difficulties of the caravan trade—arranged their navigation from Elath to South Arabia, in the time of Solomon, Jehoshaphat, and Uzziah of Judah. The Babylonians were already or subsequently became[Pg 364] acquainted with the navigation on the Persian Gulf. Their voyages extended to the bold headland of the mountains of Maketa (Cape Mussendom), where it was possible to enter into direct communication with the Indians.[689] At a later time we hear only of the Gerrhæans as middle-men in the trade with the Sabæans, while in the Hebrew Scriptures the Rhegmæans and Dedanites carry on trade with Sabæa. The Gerrhæans carried the products of Arabia to Babylon by sea; then they passed not merely up the Euphrates, but also across the desert in a slanting direction to Syria. It must have been one of the most beneficial results of the hydraulic works of Nebuchadnezzar that the Euphrates could be navigated up the stream; and triremes could advance as far as Thipsach. Trade was greatly facilitated by the fact that the wares of India and Arabia could not only be brought by water to Babylon, but could also be conveyed along with the products of Babylonian industry to that city where the most crowded caravan routes from Cilicia, Syria, and Phœnicia, touched the Euphrates,[690] while, on the other hand, the wares brought along these routes from Syria could be carried in return to Babylon. By the Nahr Malka the ships of heaviest burden could then pass from the Euphrates into the Tigris. If the cities of the Phenicians lost their sea trade on the Persian Gulf by their dependence on Babylon—in case the Egyptians closed that gulf to the subjects of Nebuchadnezzar—they were compensated by the fact that they could obtain the products of South Arabia, not only by the caravan route by Elath, but also in Babylon itself. Moreover,[Pg 365] the Arabian tribes on the Euphrates and in the Syrian desert, the Kedarites and their neighbours, were subject to Nebuchadnezzar, and the construction of the roads which led from Babylon through the desert to the West, to Sela and Elath, which provided a far shorter means of connection with Syria than the old caravan routes by Damascus and Tadmor to Thipsach, and by Riblah and Hamath to Karchemish, must certainly be ascribed to Nebuchadnezzar.[691]

Under the protection of the common head the caravans of the Phenicians travelled in peace along secure roads from the Syrian Sea to the Euphrates, the Tigris, the Persian Gulf, and the east coast of the Red Sea. The impulse which the trade thereby acquired might cause the supremacy of Nebuchadnezzar to appear to the Phenician cities not only tolerable, but advantageous. The easier and more secure connection with Babylon might, at any rate, teach them to forget in part the loss which their market had suffered by the fall of Nineveh. The increased productiveness of agriculture, the livelier trade, and consequent growth of industry, could not but raise the power and resources of the Babylonian kingdom. The more lively the intercourse between the two great halves of the kingdom separated by the desert, the more passable the desert became, the easier was it for troops to march from Babylon to Gaza, from Harran to Hamath. And if the canals of the Babylonian plain carried the ships of the Euphrates to the Tigris, and left no field without irrigation, they at the same time largely increased the means of defence in the native land.

The numerous invasions which Babylonia had[Pg 366] suffered from the Assyrians must have been held in lively recollection, and the founder of the new kingdom could not omit to bestow his earnest attention on the mode of preventing such dangers for the future. They were only possible on the side of Media. So far as the difference of force in comparison with Media was not removed by the better frontier, the more homogeneous population, and the greater productive power in Babylonia, it was necessary to attempt to remove it by the erection of fortresses in the land. As the attacks of the Assyrians had taken place from the North, the attacks of the Medes were also to be expected from that quarter. Mesopotamia might, in case of necessity, be abandoned, if the native land were made secure. Babylonia had excellent bulwarks on the East and West in the Euphrates and the Tigris; in the North the line of canals, especially the new and broad canal, Nahr Malka, formed a similar protection. The basin of Sippara was not merely constructed with a view to the cultivation of the soil and the navigation; it was at the same time calculated that the supply of water contained in it was sufficient to change the most northern of these canals into deep watercourses. The sluices were guarded by the fortress of Sippara.[692] How destructive this basin would one day be to his metropolis, how it would render vain the fruit of all his labours, Nebuchadnezzar never dreamed. If every hostile power in the East and West had to cross a wide river in the face of the Babylonian army, the two rivers from Sippara downwards could now be filled by opening the great reservoir and by closing the sluices of the Pallakopas in such a manner that it became more difficult than ever to cross them. The same was the case with the[Pg 367] canals. But the difficulties here were not so great, and they did not satisfy Nebuchadnezzar. In order to strengthen the defence of the northern border, in order to protect the basin of Sippara, on which depended the filling of the upper canals and the feeding of the lower course of both streams, to make more secure the fertile part of Babylonia, Nebuchadnezzar built a strong wall, extending from the Euphrates to the Tigris, above the four canals and the fortified Sippara. This fortification the Greeks call "the Median wall." It was, in fact, intended to meet the attacks of the Medes. Had Nebuchadnezzar chosen for the line of the wall the point at which the two rivers most nearly approach each other, the length of it would have been little more than 25 miles; but as Sippara and all the land of the canals had to be protected, the wall must have been placed farther to the north. It appears to have left the Euphrates at Ssifeira below the modern Feludsha, and, extending in a north-easterly direction, it reached the Tigris at some distance above the modern Bagdad. The length was thus from 60 to 75 miles. The wall was constructed of burnt bricks joined together by mortar of asphalt; according to Xenophon,[693][Pg 368] who saw parts of it still standing, the breadth was 20 feet and the height 100 feet. The native land, the centre of the kingdom, was thus protected; and even when it was lost, in spite of the protection of the two streams, the canals, and the long wall, the metropolis was intended to present impregnable fortresses to the enemy.

Babylon had no doubt suffered the most severe wounds in all the land of Chaldæa through the capture by Assurbanipal. Berosus says: "Nebuchadnezzar restored the old city, and also built a new one, and that the besieger might not enter the city by averting the stream, he surrounded the inner city as well as the outer with three walls, one of burnt bricks, the other two of unburnt bricks and bitumen, and thus he fortified it in a very striking manner, and adorned the gates with great splendour."[694] Herodotus, who saw the city more than one hundred years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, when it had been four times captured by Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes, describes it thus: "The city is situated in a wide plain, and forms a square of 120 stades on each side, so that the whole circuit reaches 480 stades. It is divided into two parts, and the river Euphrates flows through the middle. It is surrounded by a broad and deep trench, which is always filled with water. The soil taken from this trench was made into bricks, and burnt; and these bricks were applied, first to lining the trench[Pg 369] and then to building the wall. The wall is 50 Babylonian cubits in thickness and 200 cubits in height. The bricks are held together by bitumen-mortar, and at every thirtieth course they are separated by a layer of reeds. On the wall are houses of a single chamber, built on either side opposite each other, and yet sufficient space is left between them for a chariot and four to pass. In the wall are one hundred gates, all of brass, with brazen lintels and side-posts. The wall has wings which run along the river on either side, and the banks are cased with masonry of burnt bricks. The city itself is filled with houses of three and four stories, through which are straight streets—both those which lead to the river and the rest. Those which run down to the river have each a brazen gate in the masonry on the river, through which you pass on steps of burnt brick into the water.[695] And within this wall, which is as it were the corslet of the city, is another wall, not much inferior in strength to the other, but less in extent. Of the two parts of the city the centre of the one is occupied by the royal citadel, the centre of the other by the temple of Belus with the gates of brass."[696] In another passage Herodotus gives the names of some of the gates of Babylon; he mentions the gate of Belus, the gate of Semiramis, the gate of Ninus, the gate of the Chaldæans, and the gate of the Cissians.

That gates in Babylon could not be named after Ninus and Semiramis, i. e. after fictitious rulers, and hardly after the Chaldæans, needs no proof in detail. But the narrative of Herodotus, in which these names are found, goes back in other respects to Medo-Persian poems, which, as we already found, could tell of Ninus and Semiramis. The Babylonians were better[Pg 370] acquainted with the history of Assyria. It is more striking that in the description of the city Herodotus speaks of the walls and gates of Babylon as if they were uninjured; and yet, some twenty years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus took Babylon by storm; and scarcely twenty years afterwards Darius overcame the city, after a siege which lasted nearly two years. A new rebellion quickly followed, to be crushed by a third capture of the city; and even after this a new rising of the Babylonians was again repressed by Xerxes. After this series of struggles the walls and gates could not have remained uninjured, and Herodotus himself tells us that Darius destroyed the gates after the long siege.[697] Were Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes likely to allow the Babylonians, after each capture of the city, to restore the walls in which the city trusted?—were they not rather likely to take care that after each capture long portions of the wall should be destroyed, and so remain?

Next to Herodotus in point of time, Xenophon and Ctesias are our informants about Babylon. Xenophon did not see the city; he only came within 45 miles of it. He contents himself with remarking that Babylon, the wealthiest city in Asia, was surrounded by strong and lofty walls; that the Euphrates flowed through it; that it contained a palace and citadels, that the doors of the houses were made of palm-wood.[698] Ctesias, who had been in Babylon, gives to the wall of the city, "through which the Euphrates flows," a circuit of 360 stades (45 miles). The wall, built of burnt brick and bitumen, broken by numerous large towers, was 50 fathoms in height; and on either bank of the river ran a protecting wall, equal in strength to the[Pg 371] city wall. The length of these walls was about 160 stades. His description of the two royal citadels, "both of which lay on the river," one on the west side, the other on the east—the former was surrounded by a triple wall, and had a circuit of 60 stades, while the other on the east side was only half the size—his description of the golden statues of gods in the temple of Belus, and the golden altar and furniture, is already known to us (I. 293). About half a century after Ctesias, Cleitarchus and the companions of Alexander of Macedon inform us that the wall of Babylon had a circuit of 365 stades; the height they give at 50 cubits; the width allowed ample room for two wagons to pass each other. Two hundred and fifty towers rose above the wall, of a corresponding height and thickness. Between the wall and the houses was left a clear space of two plethra.[699] That the number of towers was so small in comparison with the circuit of the wall is no reason for wonder—so Diodorus or his authority adds—for the city was surrounded by a wide belt of marshes, and it did not appear to be necessary to build towers where the marshes afforded sufficient protection.[700]

The accounts which have been preserved of the stay of Alexander of Macedon in Babylon also prove the existence of two royal citadels, one on each bank of the Euphrates. In the last days of his life Alexander lived in the king's palace, from which the house of Bagoas, with whom on one occasion he banqueted, was distant ten stades.[701] From the banquet-hall in this palace, where he had given his commands to his[Pg 372] generals, and rested till the dusk of the evening, he was carried in a litter to the river, and conducted on board ship to the park on the other side of the river, where he bathed and rested. After spending three days there in his chamber—on the first day he played at dice with Medius; on the second he listened to the account of Nearchus about the voyage from the Indus through the great sea; on the third he bade his generals enter to receive instructions for setting out in three days—he caused himself to be brought into the house near "the large bath;" he gave orders for the generals to keep watch in the portico, and the Chiliarchs and the Pentacosiarchs before the doors. When more seriously ill he was conveyed from the garden into the more distant royal palace, where the generals entered, and the soldiers forced their way into his presence.[702]

Leaving out of sight what may have remained, and did remain uninjured, of the outer walls and towers of the city, when Herodotus and Ctesias were in Babylon, and when the Macedonians of Alexander saw the city, it is clear that in the fifth and fourth centuryB.C. so much remained standing that the line of the trenches and the wall could be clearly traced. If the circuit of 365 stades, given by Cleitarchus, is clearly a fiction derived from the number of days in the Babylonian year, we shall still be able to give the preference to the 360 stades of Ctesias over the 480 stades of Herodotus, though Aristotle remarks, "Babylon reached the extent of a nation, not of a city."[703] Since, as Ctesias also tells us, the two walls on the Euphrates were nearly 160 stades in length, the wall on each bank would be nearly 80 stades in length, i. e. about 10 miles. Supposing that[Pg 373] the Euphrates passed diametrically through the city, which was not the case, the city wall, if we also suppose that the city, as Herodotus says, was an exact square, would at the utmost have a circuit of 320 stades, i. e. of about 40 miles. We cannot therefore avoid the conclusion that in the 480 stades of Herodotus the 160 stades of the two walls on the river were included; if he inquired about the total length of the city walls the answer may very well have included the walls by the river.

Berosus told us above that Nebuchadnezzar surrounded the old city as well as the new, the inner city as well as the outer, with a triple wall. By the outer city we must understand the new city, which, according to Berosus, Nebuchadnezzar built. The old city lay, like the old citadel (I. 298), on the west bank of the Euphrates. Of this old citadel the remains of a square keep on the river, now called Abu Ghozeilat, are still in existence. Herodotus, and the Greek authorities after him, know nothing of an old and a new city, they only knew a city divided into two parts by the Euphrates. Herodotus does not speak of three walls but only of two, an outer and an inner wall, "hardly inferior in strength to the other, but of less extent," (p. 369). If to these two walls of Herodotus we reckon the walls which enclosed the fortresses on each side of the Euphrates, Herodotus would be in agreement with Berosus. But Ctesias and the companions of Alexander know of one wall only, enclosing Babylon. It would be very remarkable that within half a century or even a century after the time of Herodotus, no trace was left of the two inner walls mentioned by him. Herodotus allows for the outer wall a height of 200 cubits, i. e. of 300 feet, and a breadth of 75 feet: Ctesias mentions the same height,[Pg 374] (50 fathoms). Moreover, Ctesias allows a similar height for the second wall of the old citadel, and a height of 70 fathoms for the towers; the third wall was higher still (I. 298). The companions of Alexander allow a height of only 50 cubits for the walls of Babylon. The walls of the island city of Tyre, on the side turned towards the mainland, were 150 feet in height. Xenophon saw strips of wall 150 feet in height still standing on the site of ancient Nineveh. We saw above that the Median wall of Nebuchadnezzar, the first line of defence for the land, was 100 feet in height, and 20 feet in breadth; hence we may conclude that the walls of Babylon must certainly have been stronger and higher. A Hebrew contemporary of Nebuchadnezzar speaks emphatically of the "broad walls," "the lofty gates" of Babylon; he tells us that "Babylon reached to the heavens, and the height of the fortress none could climb."[704] As neither Cyrus nor Darius with all their siege material could make any impression on the walls of Babylon; as Nebuchadnezzar would certainly make the walls of Babylon stronger than the walls of Chalah and Nineveh, so that neither battering-rams nor besieging-towers could injure them, neither arrows nor scaling-ladders could over-top them, we have good ground for assuming that Nebuchadnezzar strengthened the wall already in existence, and raised it to a height of 200 feet, (Pliny gives it a height of more than 200 feet);[705] that the towers rose to 300 feet. It was the standing walls of towers of this height which caused Herodotus and Ctesias to believe that the wall was once of the same height throughout. A height of 200 feet presupposes a corresponding breadth of about 40 feet, which leaves for the gangway behind the towers[Pg 375] breadth sufficient for a chariot and four horses, or for two wagons of burden.

We may maintain the assertion of Berosus, that it was Nebuchadnezzar who added a new city on the eastern bank of the Euphrates to the old city on the western bank, so that the Euphrates henceforth flowed through the city. We have already seen that the great temple of Bel Merodach, Bit Saggatu, the tower of Babel, was on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, opposite to the old city and the citadel of the ancient kings, who ruled over Babylon before the times of the Assyrian dominion; we recognised the remains of it in the most northern heap of the ruins of Babylon on that bank of the river, the heap of broken bricks now called Babil. In the ruins we can recognise the traces of a square structure, the sides of which are directed to the four quarters of the sky. Its extent reaches 1500 or 1600 feet; the ruins now rise 140 feet above the level of the Euphrates. Herodotus allows a stadium (600 feet) for each side of the tower; the outer wall with the gates of brass was two stades on each side.[706] Berosus tells us: "Nebuchadnezzar built a second palace beside the palace of his father, which abutted upon it. To describe its height and splendour would be superfluous: it was large and quite extraordinary."[707] Since the bricks of a ruin-heap to the south of the remains of the tower of Belus, on the east bank of the Euphrates, now called El Kasr—bricks which are twelve inches long and as many broad, and three inches in thickness—bear on the under side the stamp of Nebuchadnezzar, we are certain that the restorers of the kingdom, Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar, built their residences on this side of the Euphrates, opposite to the palace of the ancient kings. It is these which[Pg 376] Ctesias has described to us as the smaller royal citadel, lying on the eastern bank, and enclosed by a wall of 30 stades in length. He dwells on the statues of brass to be found here, and the descriptions of battles and hunting-scenes (I. 298). So far as the fragments allow us to see, the palaces of Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar formed a square structure, which, 1600 feet in length, ran from north to south, close along the bank of the river: from the bank towards the east the breadth of the ruins is 1200 feet. The remains still rise about 70 feet above the river. Slabs of stone discovered in these ruins bear the inscription: "Great palace of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babel, son of Nabopolassar, king of Babel, the worshipper of Nebo and Merodach his lords."[708] Among tiles and bricks, yellow and white, we find here a number of glazed tiles, with brightly-coloured remains of pictures in relief, of horses' hoofs, and lions' paws, of parts of the human body, curled beards, and long hair, which prove that the walls of the palace or the sides of the rooms were adorned with reliefs, in mosaic, of hunting-scenes and battles. Like Assyrian plastic work, these remains are heavy, and mostly exaggerated in the modelling. The lion of granite, already mentioned, (I. 302) was discovered in the ruin-heap of Kasr.

In this citadel, so Berosus informs us, "Nebuchadnezzar erected platforms on stone pillars, which he caused to have the appearance of mountains, inasmuch as he so arranged them that they were planted with trees of every kind. This hanging garden (paradisus), as it was called, he built to please his wife, who had been brought up in the Median district, and wished to have a scene like her own home."[709] Nebuchadnezzar might gladly pay honour to Amyite, the daughter of[Pg 377] Cyaxares, whose hand had been the seal of the league between Media and Babylonia against Assyria. Abydenus narrates, after Berosus, that "Nebuchadnezzar adorned the royal citadel with trees, and called the work the hanging gardens."[710] Diodorus also describes what he too calls the paradisus, by the name in use for such things in Iran: "To please a Persian lady these gardens were intended to imitate the mountain meadows and the tree-gardens of her land." "The paradisus" so we are told in Diodorus, "was 400 feet on every side; it had an ascent like a mountain, and stories, one over the other, so that it looked like a theatre. Under the ascent were vaults, which bore the weight of the garden, in moderate height one over the other. The highest vault, which supported the highest layer of the garden, was 50 cubits in height, so that it was of an equal height with the towers of the outer wall (of the citadel). The walls of the pleasure-garden were artificially strengthened; they were 22 feet in width; the passages were 10 feet in width: the caps of the vaults were covered with stone slabs of 16 feet in length and 4 feet in breadth. On these were layers of reeds, with a large amount of bitumen, and upon this a double layer of burnt tiles united with gypsum; on this followed a third layer of plates of lead, that the moisture of the earth might not penetrate into the masonry. On the lead plates was then placed as much earth as was sufficient for the roots of the largest trees. This earth was then smoothed and planted with trees of every kind, which could give pleasure by their size and grace. In the vaults were various objects of the royal household economy; one of the uppermost contained the machines by which the water was raised through pipes from the river in such a[Pg 378] manner that no one could observe it from the outside."[711] Strabo gives the following description: "The garden lies on the river. It is a square plantation, 400 feet on every side. The garden is supported by vaults which rest on arches, one of which is supported on another by means of cube-shaped pillars. The pillars are hollow and filled with earth, so that they can receive the roots of the largest trees. The vaults and arches are built of burnt tiles and bitumen. The uppermost story has an ascent like a stair-case, and abutting on this are pumping-works by which the persons appointed for the office continually raise water from the Euphrates into the garden."[712] This hanging garden is the paradisus into which Alexander was brought from the old citadel on the other side of the river. We saw above that one side of the garden adjoined the great bath and the other the palace, i. e. the palace of Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar. In the third and most southern heap of ruins in Babylon, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, now called Amran ibn Ali, modern explorers believe that they have discovered the site of the hanging gardens which rose from the Euphrates. The bricks of the ruins bear the name of Nebuchadnezzar, but one has been found among them bearing the name of Esarhaddon of Asshur. We saw that Esarhaddon built much in Babylon, but hardly on this site; the inscription of the brick speaks of buildings at Bit Saggatu, but the brick itself has no doubt been brought to this site from some other place owing to the changes which Babylon underwent after the reign of Esarhaddon. According to the position of these ruins the buildings of which they are the remains formed an irregular square; the side on the river measures more than 1800 feet in length: the[Pg 379] eastern side is about 1100 feet, the depth about 1300 feet. If this is really the site of the terrace gardens, the other ruins may be the remnants of the great bathing-house, of which we heard above (p. 372). The corpses found in the vaults of these ruins, of which the coffins are formed by bricks placed together, belong to the period of the rule of the Parthians over Babylon.[713]

Round the new citadel of Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar on the eastern bank, round the old, most sacred temple of the city, the temple of Merodach, rising on a broad basis in seven receding stories (I. 296), which Nebuchadnezzar was the first to complete, as we shall soon see, i. e. to raise it to its full height of about 600 feet—round these great buildings, on the same side of the river, the new city must have arisen, which, according to the statement of Berosus, Nebuchadnezzar added to the ancient Babylon. As this new city and its fortification date from the time of Nebuchadnezzar, the permanent bridge over the Euphrates must also be the work of that king. This bridge Herodotus ascribes to Nitocris, queen of Babylon—by whom is meant Amyite, the consort of Nebuchadnezzar—while Ctesias represents it as being built by Semiramis, on the ground of the Medo-Persian songs which were inclined to ascribe everything to the founders of the extinct Assyria, but very little to the still existing Babylon.[714] Before there was a palace and city and city wall on the eastern bank, a permanent bridge was not merely not required and useless; it would have been a dangerous piece of folly for the city, which would simply have facilitated the approach to an enemy coming from the east. According to the description of the bridge which Diodorus[Pg 380] has borrowed from Ctesias it crossed the Euphrates between the two citadels, "which lay on the river in order to overlook the whole city, and formed as it were the keys of the most important parts of it." It was of the length of five stades, and was supported by stone pillars, which stood at a distance of twelve feet from each other, and rested on an artificial foundation in the bed of the river. The stones of the pillars, in order to hold them together, were secured with clamps of iron, and the joints were filled up with lead. On the side which faced the stream the pillars formed sharp but rounded angles, which gradually extended to the width of the pillar, in order that the violence of the stream might be broken, and the rounded edge might moderate its force. The bed on the pillars was 30 feet in breadth and consisted of huge palm trunks and beams of cedar and cypress.[715] Herodotus says: "Any one who wished to cross from one side to the other had to go by ship. But as this was found to be troublesome, in my opinion, a remedy was discovered. The Euphrates was dried up by diverting all the water into the excavated basin; and nearly in the middle of the city a bridge was built of stones, which were clamped together with iron and lead, and at the same time the banks of the river so far as it flows through the city were cased with burnt bricks, and the descents from the small gates to the river were built up with similar bricks. In the day-time the beams of the bridge were let down so that the Babylonians could cross over; at night they were drawn up."[716]

Owing to the breadth and size of the stream, and the violence of the current at the time of the inundation, the building of a permanent bridge was no easy task. Strabo puts the breadth of the Euphrates at[Pg 381] Babylon at 600 feet, Xenophon who saw the river some miles above Babylon puts it at twice that breadth.[717] Diodorus has already told us that the bridge was five stades, i. e. 3000 feet, long. This statement may be exaggerated, yet owing to the heavy flood at the time of the inundation, however this might be moderated by the basin at Sippara, the bridge must have been raised so high, the buttresses and shore walls must have been thrown so far back, that a considerably increased body of water could pass down without undermining the casings and the shore walls. That the new basin at Sippara was used in order to facilitate the building of the bridge, and erection of the shore walls, in order to reduce as much as possible the amount of water in the stream while the building was going on, as Herodotus tells us, is a statement we have no reason to contest. In his time the bridge was still standing: the companions of Alexander make no mention of it.

Nebuchadnezzar's buildings at Babylon were intended in the first instance for the protection of the city. Sennacherib and Assurbanipal had taken Babylon; such a misfortune was never to befall the city again. Nineveh and Chalah had been situated on one side only of the Tigris: Babylon must be situated on both sides of the Euphrates. The city became stronger by being situated on both sides of the river. The investment would be a matter of difficulty, for the investing army had to be divided, and these halves were separated by the Euphrates, so that they could with difficulty keep up communications, still less could they render mutual assistance. The investment would become more difficult still if as wide a circuit as possible were given to the city wall. It was not the multitude of[Pg 382] inhabitants that required a wall of nearly 40 miles in length—there is here no ground for attributing to the city of Babylon a much larger population than that of Nineveh, or assuming it to be more than 500,000—the object was to make a blockade difficult or impossible for an enemy. An outer wall of 40 miles is scarcely greater in extent than the outer wall of Paris, which was built in the fourth century of our era, and what the states of the most ancient civilisation on the Nile, the Euphrates, and Tigris could do in the way of vast buildings, is shown to us in numerous examples, and remains on an astonishing scale. By thus extending the city walls of Babylon strips of arable and pasture land were obtained, which supplemented the stores of the city, and could support the cattle required in a time of siege; an open space was gained for the population of the land, who would fly into the walls of Babylon at the approach of an enemy. Besides, the walls of Babylon must be in a position to receive the Babylonian army in the event of a defeat. If the line of the Euphrates or the Tigris could not be held in a war, if the Median wall and the four lines of the canals behind it between the Tigris and Euphrates were abandoned, if the army were forced behind all these or defeated in open field, it must be sure of finding certain protection behind the walls of the main city. When rested in this great open space, and again thoroughly armed, it could not only hold the walls with ease, for they, as we have seen, were so high and strong, that they almost defended themselves; it could sally forth for new encounters in the open field. If the enemy divided his forces in order to invest the city, the army of Babylon could attack either of these halves with the whole force, and thus had the best prospect of a successful battle. It certainly was not[Pg 383] the furtherance of intercourse which primarily induced Nebuchadnezzar to build the permanent bridge; a bridge such as the enemy could not destroy by putting beams or heavily laden vessels into the river above the city secured for the army when it had retired into the city the speediest means of passing from bank to bank, and put it in a position to make a sudden onset on the right or left bank. Even if the worst happened, and the enemy succeeded in gaining possession of the city on the western or eastern bank, the bed of the bridge was easily thrown off, and the defence of the part of the city which was still uncaptured was scarcely rendered at all more difficult by the pillars. The fixing of the foundations of the shore walls which secured the new eastern as well as the old western part of the city against attempts of the enemy on vessels, and from the river, and which was intended to render possible the defence of each part of the city after the loss of the other, would be very difficult: the fixing of the foundations of the pillars of the bridge would be more difficult still, and the bridge could not be rendered secure against the force of the high flood without the basin of Sippara. We see how the buildings of Nebuchadnezzar hang together; they all spring from one conception, from one connected system.

To this extent do the accounts of Western authors allow us to survey and criticise the buildings of Nebuchadnezzar. From his own inscriptions we gain some further explanations. The cylinder Rich informs us that Nebuchadnezzar restored a watercourse to the east of Babylon, of which the dams had fallen down, and the outlet was stopped up; that he dug a canal in honour of Merodach in the neighbourhood of Babylon.[718] On a brick in his buildings at Babylon Nebuchadnezzar[Pg 384] says: "I am Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, restorer of Bit Saggatu, and Bit Zida (i. e. of the temple of Merodach at Babylon, and of Nebo at Borsippa), son of Nabopolassar I. I have built a palace for the abode of my kingdom in this city of Babel, which is situated in the land of Babel. I have laid its foundations deep below the waters of the Euphrates, and written the memorial thereof on cylinders. With thy help, O Merodach, god of gods, I have built this palace in the midst of Babylon. Come hither to dwell, increase the number of the births, and through me let the people of Babylon be victorious down to the latest days."[719] On another brick we are told: "Nabopolassar, the father who begot me, built the great walls of Babylon; he caused the trenches to be cut, and the sides thereof to be firmly covered with bricks and bitumen."[720] On the other hand, a cylinder discovered at Babylon tells us: "I am Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the glorious prince. I have built Imgur Bel and Nivit Bel, the great walls which surround Babylon, upon their lines. I have busily constructed the trenches, cased with bricks and bitumen. I have made straight the streets of Babylon. I have set up brazen gates in the great porticoes, and I have widened the streets of Babylon. I have taken forethought to protect Babylon and Bit Saggatu. Merodach, mighty prince, strengthen the work of my hands for glory, increase for the highest honour the course of my days, and my posterity, O lord of lords."[721] More detailed, and, at the same time, more definite, is the information given on the cylinder Philipps; the king has completed the wall round the old city, and built the wall round the new city on the east, and then the remaining works of Nebuchad[Pg 385]nezzar are enumerated. "I am Nebuchadnezzar, king of justice, shepherd of the nations, leader of men, director of the worship of the gods Bel, Dagon, Samas, and Merodach. I am he who carries out their counsels. Merodach the great lord has raised me to the dominion over the nations. I demeaned myself with humility before the god who created me. Babylon is the shrine of the god Merodach. I have completed Imgur Bel, the great wall. I have erected great gates and covered their portals with brass. I have cut great trenches and cased their sides with bricks and bitumen. On the height of the walls I have erected small towers. In order to protect Bit Saggatu effectually, and defend it against the enemy, and against attacks which might be directed against imperishable Babylon, I have built a second wall, at the extreme end of Babylon, the wall of the rising sun, which no king had built before me. This wall I caused to be erected to protect the products of the plain of Babylon, and to provide a refuge for the land of Sumir and Accad. I have founded, I have completed Bit Zida, the eternal house at Borsippa. The posts of the shrine of the god Nebo I have covered with gold. There are enthroned Nebo and Nana. At Sippara I have founded and built the temple of the day, in honour of the gods Samas and Bin, my lords. At Larsam (Senkereh), I have founded and built the temple of the day, in honour of the gods Samas and Bin. In honour of the god Sin, who exalts my kingdom, I have built a temple at Ur (Mugheir, I. 258). At Nipur I have founded and built a temple in honour of Anu (?), my lord. The glorious treasures of Istar of Arak (Erech), the supreme lady of Arak, I have again brought into their place in the city of Arak. I have behaved myself as a pious man towards Bit Saggatu and Bit Zida. I have exalted the splendour of[Pg 386] Merodach and Nebo, my lords: I have brought to them the booty which I owed to them. I have established the seat of power in Babylon; I have founded and built it in Babylon. I have brought great cedars from the summits of Lebanon, to make beams for it. I have caused an enclosure to be built up, and in the midst I have adorned the abode of my kingdom."[722]

This cylinder proves that Nebuchadnezzar's buildings were not confined to Babylon. He claims to have founded Bit Zida, i. e. the temple of Nebo at Borsippa, one of the three chief temples of Babylonia (I. 272); but this temple had been in existence many centuries before his time. Hence founding and building can here mean no more than restoring and completing: just as elsewhere Nebuchadnezzar constantly calls himself the restorer of Bit Zida and Bit Saggatu. We found already that beside the temple of Nebo at Borsippa, Nebuchadnezzar had restored and completed another temple in that city. This was the tower of Borsippa, the temple of the seven lamps, i. e. of the seven planets, of the seven stories of which four can still be traced in the great ruins of Birs Nimrud, some miles to the south-west of the ruin-heaps of Babylon (I. 291). In the same way it is renovations and restorations of the temples of the ancient princes of Ur, Erech, and Nipur, which are meant when Nebuchadnezzar claims to have founded and built temples at Sippara and Senkereh to Samas and Bin, at Ur to Sin, and at Nipur to Anu.

In the very comprehensive inscription, preserved on a stone of black basalt found at Babylon—a stone more than three feet in height and breadth—Nebuchadnezzar begins with stating that Merodach and Nebo, the gods which he, like his father and his[Pg 387] descendants and successors, worshipped most zealously, had given him the dominion. He points out the extent of his kingdom, speaks of his victories and his buildings, and then passes on to the temples which he has built. After this come the fortresses, the buildings at Bit Saggatu and at Bit Zida: the building of the palace completes the list. The chief passages, so far as they are understood with any certainty, are as follows: "I am Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, great, mighty, submissive to Merodach, supreme Patis (II. 31), suppliant of Nebo, day and night taking thought for the restoration of Bit Saggatu and Bit Zida, who increase the glory of Babylon and Borsippa, the eldest son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon: I. The god Bel created me, and the god Merodach placed the germ of my life in my mother. I have restored the shrines of the supreme deity, extended the worship of the god, and spread abroad the worship of the high divinity of Nebo. Merodach, the great god, has raised my head to the dignity of king; he has given me the dominion over the hosts of men. Nebo, who sits on the throne in heaven and upon the earth, has put into my hands the sceptre of justice. The lands from the upper to the lower sea (i. e., no doubt, from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean) I have kept in obedience; the impassable roads I have made passable. The evil I have punished. I have discovered the plans of the enemies of the land, and made many prisoners: rich booty of silver, gold, and precious metals, costly things in abundance, I have collected in Babylon. Bit Saggatu, the great temple of the might of Merodach, I restored and covered with gold, so that it shone like the day: I have dedicated an altar to the god Ilu (El). The largest trees from the tops of Lebanon I brought down for the portico of[Pg 388] Merodach. I have been able to complete Bit Saggatu; to obtain this end I invoked the king of the gods, the lord of lords. Bit Zida I have set up, and covered the shrine of Nebo with gold. I have restored the temple of the seven lamps at Borsippa (I. 291). In the midst of Babylon I have erected a great temple in honour of Bilit, the supreme lady, the mother, who created me; I have built a temple in Babylon to Nebo, who has given me the sceptre of justice, to rule the nations." Nebuchadnezzar then enumerates the rest of the gods to whom he has built temples at Babylon; the moon-god Sin; Bin, who gives fruitfulness to his land; the great goddess Nana; and, finally, the lady of Bit Ana. At Borsippa he also built temples to the great goddess Nana, and to Bin; he erected a shrine in Bit Zida to Sin. "Imgur Bel and Nivit Bel, the two great walls of Babylon, Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, the father who begot me, had commenced, but he had not completed their beauty. The outer trenches he excavated, and enclosed them with bricks and bitumen, and the banks of the river Euphrates he cased with bricks: but he did not complete this and other works. I, his eldest son, the chosen of his heart, have completed Imgur Bel and Nivit Bel, the great walls of Babylon." Nebuchadnezzar further informs us that he set up two mighty casing walls, and united them with the trenches of his father; that he enclosed the water of Bursabu with walls for the inhabitants of Babylon, and carried the line of these walls to Imgur Bel and Nivit Bel. Then he mentions the building of great gates in the wall Imgur Bel and their adornment; then observes that he measured a circuit of 4000 Ammat gagar (land-cubits), and mentions the building of the mighty wall of the rising sun, i. e. the outer wall of the new city on the eastern bank: this[Pg 389] wall he surrounded with water: thus had he strengthened the city and protected the land of Babylon. Next follows an account of two trenches and fortifications, which he erected, in order to render more difficult the attack of the enemy on the wall of Imgur Bel 490 Ammat in length.[723] Finally, Nebuchadnezzar tells us that he founded the Tabisubur-su, i. e. the outer wall of Borsippa, and excavated the trenches. "Bit Saggatu and Bit Zida, I made to shine as the sun, the temples of the great gods I made to shine as the day. Merodach, who raised me to dominion, and Nebo, who entrusted me with dominion,—their dwellings have I exalted at Babylon and Borsippa. Nabopolassar, the father who begot me, had begun to build a palace of bricks. I laid the foundations, and made use of great beams of cedar-wood, and collected treasures here. In Babylon alone, and in no other city, I exalted the abode of my dominion." "For the admiration of mankind I set up this house; the fear of the power and the presence of my kingdom surround its walls. With thy help, Merodach, sublime god, I have erected this dwelling. May I receive in it the rich tribute of the kings of all lands of the world, from the West to the East. May the enemy never triumph, and may men (?) of Babylon reign here for my sake down to the most distant days."[724]

In a reign of forty-three years, of which the first three decades, though not each year of them, were occupied by the Egyptian, Arabian, and Syrian wars, Nebuchadnezzar succeeded in restoring almost entirely[Pg 390] the buildings of the old kings of Babylon, the ancient temples of the land. In Babylon he completed the great temple of Merodach, and built temples there to Bilit, Nebo, Sin, Bin, and Nana. Four cylinders concur in mentioning that he also built a temple there to the goddess Zarpanit.[725] He adorned the temples of Babylon, as Berosus tells us, and the inscriptions confirm his account, in a costly manner with the booty of his victories.[726] It is certainly no exaggeration if the Hebrews speak of Babylon as "the beauty of the kingdoms, the pride and glory of the Chaldæans."[727] From the temple tower of Merodach now completed, the lofty signal of the city, the eye must have ranged far over the surrounding walls to the palm groves,[728] the canals and corn-fields. From the towers of the new citadel, the terrace of the hanging gardens, it must have been possible to survey the city with all its temples, the broad mirror of the Euphrates, the busy life in the streets and on the bridge. Here, without doubt, Nebuchadnezzar might have uttered the saying which a Hebrew puts in his mouth: "This is Babylon the great, which I have built for myself as a royal habitation, as a sign of my glory."

It was not the metropolis only which was restored and exalted to greater splendour than before; the rest of the cities were not forgotten. At Borsippa Nebuchadnezzar completed the great temple of Nebo, restored and completed the temple of the seven planets (of Birs Nimrud), and also built temples to Nana and Bin. At Sippara he built a temple to the gods Samas and Bin; the same gods, as he assures us, received a temple at Senkereh; and this is confirmed by a cylinder discovered there: he restored the[Pg 391] temple of the moon-god at Ur, as he tells us, and the bricks of Ur confirm his statement;[729] Istar of Erech received back her treasures, and the god Anu received a temple at Nipur. More extensive than the temples are the works of fortification which he erected on a magnificent and well-considered system, the Median wall, and the walls of Babylon itself. We saw how closely these fortifications were connected with his great hydraulic works for the regulation of the inundation, for the connection of the Euphrates and the Tigris, for the drainage of the land at the mouth of the Euphrates. The same care which he showed in these connections by water, and in planting those harbours on the Persian Gulf, for the advancement of trade and intercourse, he also showed in making roads by land. He laid almost indestructible foundations for the agriculture of Babylonia, the welfare of the native land. After a triple subjection of Babylonia the Achæmenid kings could still collect 1000 talents (more than £300,000) in land-tax from the country; and impose on it for four months in the year the maintenance of the king's table in addition to the support of the satrap, his court, his officers, and the garrisons. The value of the products required each day for this table was rated at from 30 to 40 talents. The Babylonians preserved the most grateful memory of Nebuchadnezzar. Even after the fall of the kingdom the recurrence of his name was enough to bring them twice into arms against the Persian dominion.

The buildings begun by Nebuchadnezzar were not all finished when he died, in the year 561 B.C. None of his successors came near him in military skill, in circumspection and enterprise. The active acquisition and fortification of the empire were followed by supine[Pg 392] enjoyment. This was quickly succeeded by neglect of government and obedience, conspiracies of relations and court officers. Evilmerodach, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, reigned, according to Berosus, with caprice and want of intelligence.[730] Towards Jechoniah of Judah, the son of Josiah, whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried captive thirty-six years previously to Babylon—he had only sat on the throne three months—Evilmerodach showed kindness. He released him from his long imprisonment, invited him to his table, and treated him like the other conquered princes, for whom Babylon was a compulsory place of residence.[731] After a reign of two years the son of the great king came to an end by assassination. It was the husband of his sister, his brother-in-law, Neriglissar, who removed him out of his way (559 B.C.). In the buttresses on the Euphrates at Babylon we find bricks which show that walls on the river commenced by Nabopolassar, and continued but not completed by Nebuchadnezzar, were carried on by Neriglissar. The stamp of the bricks runs thus: "Neriglissar, king of Babylon, maintainer of Bit Saggatu and Bit Zida."[732] On a cylinder found at Babylon, Neriglissar calls himself son of Bel-labar-iskun, and speaks of his buildings at Bit Saggatu, of a water-basin "of the rising sun," of the erection of moats round the royal citadel.[733] Neriglissar died after sitting on the throne for four years: the son whom he left behind, Labaessoarach by name, was still a boy. But the great kingdom of the Medes had already succumbed to the Persians, and Babylonia was in need of a man. The chiefs of the court conspired together; Labaessoarach was murdered after bearing the title of king for nine months; and[Pg 393] the throne was conferred by the common resolution of the conspirators on one of themselves, by name Nabonetus (555 B.C.).[734]

Berosus tells us that Nabonetus (Nabunahid) built the walls of Babylon on the river of burnt bricks and bitumen. A number of these bricks, found in the remains of the bulwarks, confirm the statement: Nabonetus as a fact completed the walls of the river. Red or gray, and entirely covered with bitumen, they display the stamp: "Nabunahid, king of Babylon, maintainer of Bit Saggatu, and Bit Zida, worshipper of Nebo, son of Nabubalatirib."[735] Nabonetus did not only build at Babylon; bricks at Senkereh and Ur prove that there also he continued the buildings of Nebuchadnezzar.[736] On an injured cylinder, discovered at Ur (Mugheir) he tells us that Nebuchadnezzar had begun to erect there the temple of Samas and Sin, his lords; that he, Nabonetus, completed the work.[737] We are acquainted with the heaps of this temple in the north-west of the ruins (I. 289). The tiles of the lower story bear the stamp of Urukh, those of the upper the stamp of his son Dungi; others show the stamp of Ismidagon, king of Ur, and[Pg 394] Kurigalzu of Babylon, who restored this temple at the end of the fifteenth century.[738] On four clay cylinders found in these ruins, which repeat the same inscription, Nabonetus tells us that the building of the ancient kings, Urukh and Dungi, in honour of the great goddess (of Ur), lay in ruins. This temple he restored on the old foundations, as it had been before, in bricks and bitumen. He had completed this structure in honour of the god Sin; might the god grant continuance to his work. At the same time he entreats Sin to implant reverence for his great divinity in the heart of his first-born son, Bel-sar-ussur (Belshazzar).[739] Beyond this we only know of Nabonetus that in the year 551 B.C. he made Hiram, of the race of Ethbaal, whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried to Babylonia after the blockade of Tyre, king of that city, and sent him there.[740] The most difficult of all tasks was already awaiting Nabonetus: he had to meet the storm which convulsed Asia. Nebuchadnezzar had been ever intent on making the power of his kingdom equal to the power of the Medes. Media and Lydia too were now subject to Cyrus. A mightier power than Nebuchadnezzar had ever looked forward to had set foot in Babylonia, in the East, the North, and the West.

"By the waters of Babylon sat" the Jews whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried from their homes. They were men of distinction, the first in rank and culture, and the priests: it was the intellectual nucleus of the people that had been transplanted to Babylonia. The danger[Pg 395] that this nucleus, in despair of the protection of their own god, should turn to the gods of the conquerors as being more mighty, was not great. Jehovah was no longer merely the tribal God of Israel, who had been unable to protect his tribe against all other nations: the prophets had announced him as the Almighty God of the world, who ruled over the kingdoms of the earth, who would raise up and throw down at his pleasure, who exercises justice. Moreover, the captives possessed in the Book of the Law (Deuteronomy) a plain rule of life, which had been wanting to the Israelites when transplanted by the Assyrian kings. Among them were earnest spirits and mighty hearts, who preserved their courage and hope unbroken. Opportunities for these qualities were not wanting in their dealings with their countrymen, for the exiles in their differences with each other repaired much more readily to their own countrymen who were skilled in the law, than to the magistrates of the Babylonians. Among those who were first carried away in the year 597 B.C. (p. 332), was the priest Ezekiel, who had his dwelling on the Chaboras, in Mesopotamia. The rulers often came to consult Ezekiel, and the elders gathered in his house, "that he might ask Jehovah for them."[741] His announcements are strongly coloured by the priestly point of view on which he takes his stand. He maintains strictly the rubrics and customs of worship, the correct offering of sacrifice. It is a comfort to him in his sorrow to imagine, in minute detail, how the temple is to be restored with all its buildings, the land divided among the tribes, what was to be allotted to the priests, and what duties would devolve upon them, if Jehovah should restore Israel again out of the captivity.[742] Hence with the firmer conviction could Ezekiel say to his[Pg 396] people, that they were a people of "an impudent face and hardened heart,"[743] but that Jehovah had no pleasure in the death of the evil-doer, but only in his conversion and improvement;[744] that Jehovah would assemble them out of the lands into which they were scattered. "I will bring you," so Jehovah speaks in Ezekiel, "into the wilderness of the nations; and there will I plead with you face to face, as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt. I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant. And I will purge out from among you the rebels and them that transgress against me. They shall not return to Israel. I will sprinkle pure water over you that ye may be clean. I will put a new heart and a new spirit within you, and will take the stony heart out of your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh out of my spirit, that ye may walk in my statutes and keep my ordinances. Then shall ye loathe yourselves for the evils which ye have committed in all your abominations; and the ruins of the cities shall be built up and inhabited, and the wilderness shall be as the garden of Eden. Israel and Judah shall no more be two nations; they shall both be my people, and I will be their God, and my servant David shall be king over them, their only shepherd. I will conclude with them an eternal covenant of peace, and establish them in the land wherein their fathers dwelt, and multiply them, and let my sanctuary and my dwelling be for ever among them."

Prophecies uttered with such conviction and certainty, supported and strengthened the hope of the people in the coming restoration of the kingdom. It was possible by the help of Jehovah. It might be[Pg 397] expected all the sooner, the more zealously and heartily the exiles worshipped Jehovah. The more melancholy the present state of affairs, the greater was the yearning with which the eye was directed upwards. Under their foreign rulers the Jews became accustomed more and more to think of Jehovah as the one and only king of Judah who would rescue his faithful people out of their slavery in Babylon, even as he had once led them forth with a strong hand and an outstretched arm out of Egypt. In the strange land and among strangers, where the Jews were kept together by nothing more than their common religion, where besides their religion nothing was left to them, adherence to the old faith struck deeper roots, and the increasing strength of religious conviction saved the nationality.


[679] Herod. 2, 178.

[680] Joseph. "c. Apion." 1, 19.

[681] Alcæi fragm. 35, ed. Bergk.

[682] Tassie, "Catalogue Raisonné," p. 64; Raspe, "Planches," 11, 653.

[683] Cp. Strabo, p. 739.

[684] Vol. I. p. 300. Herod. 1, 185. Arrian, "Anab." 7, 21. Polybius, 9, 43. Strabo, p. 754. Ammian. Marcell. 23, 6. Ptolem. 5, 20.

[685] Vol. I. p. 301. Abyden. fragm. 8, 9, ed. Müller. The position of the βασίλειος ποταμός is fixed by Ptolemy, 5, 17. That Nebuchadnezzar caused the Nahr Malka to be excavated follows from the words of Abydenus in Eusebius ("Chron." I. p. 37, ed. Schöne): Armacalen fluvium ex Arazane (Euphrate) derivavit: cp. "Præp. Evang." 9, 41. Armacale must obviously be the same name as Nahr Malka. Cp. Plin. "Hist. Nat." 6, 26 (30). On the position of the Nahr Malka, Xen. "Anab." 2-4. Ammian. Marcell. 26, 6; and that it was navigable, Herod. 1, 193.

[686] Abydenus in Eusebius, loc. cit. "Præp. Evang." 9, 41. Diod. (2, 9) ascribes this basin, as he does all the buildings of Babylon, with the exception of the hanging gardens, to Semiramis. Herodotus describes the basin, and considers the maker of it to be, not Semiramis, but Nitocris, who lived five generations later. To the same queen he ascribes the works in the bed of the Euphrates, the embankment of the river, and the bridge over the Euphrates, 1, 184-188. He fixes the date of Nitocris more precisely when he states that Cyrus marched against her son, who like his father was called Labynetus, and took Babylon. We know for certain that no woman reigned over Babylon from Nabopolassar to the overthrow of the kingdom. Herodotus' knowledge about the kingdom of Babylon is extremely scanty; he obtained his information, it would seem, chiefly through the Persians; and it is restricted chiefly to these two names, Nitocris and Labynetus, for he denotes by the same name the Babylonian, who arranged the peace between the Medes and the Lydians (supr. p. 260). In the one case Nabopolassar is meant by Labynetus, in the other Nabonetus; and so Nitocris can only be Amyite, the daughter of Cyaxares, the consort of Nebuchadnezzar (p. 285). The statement of Berosus in Abydenus, putting the extent of the basin at 40 parasangs (it is also found in Diodorus, 2, 9, viz. 1200 stades), is so exaggerated that in this particular the statement of Herodotus, who allows an extent of 420 stades to the lake, deserves the preference. Diodorus, loc. cit., gives the depth as stated in the text; according to the Armenian Eusebius it was 20 cubits; according to the "Præp. Evang.," which also quote Abydenus, it was 20 fathoms, i. e. 120 feet.

[687] Herod. 1, 185. It is clear from the account of Herodotus that the artificial bends in the river-bed lay above Sippara. The object which Herodotus ascribes to these works in the river—that the long and winding navigation and the large lake were intended to hinder the Medes from coming to Babylon and seeing what took place there—is naïve enough. The Ardericca of Herodotus is, no doubt, identical with the Idikara of Ptolemy, which he places more than three-fourths of a degree higher up the Euphrates than Sippara. Ptolem. 5, 17, 19.

[688] Aristobulus in Strabo, p. 766. Eusebius, "Chron." 1, p. 40, ed. Schöne; "Præp. Evang." 9, 41. Dionys. "Perieg." v. 982. Ptolem. 5, 19. Movers' somewhat different view on Gerrha is given, "Phœnizier," 2, 3, 308.

[689] Isaiah xliii. 14. Æsch. "Pers." v. 52-55. Arrian, "Ind." 32. Strabo, p. 766.

[690] Strabo, loc. cit. Diodorus, 14, 21, 81. Vol. II. p. 297.

[691] Movers, "Phœnizier," 2, 3, 306. This road certainly cannot be carried back to the Phenicians; the nearest way, from Nineveh to Syria, often traversed by the Assyrian kings on their campaigns, passed by Karchemish on the lower Orontes.

[692] Plin. "Hist. Nat." 6, 26 (30).

[693] Eratosthenes in Strabo puts the length of the wall at 200 stades (25 miles) only, Xenophon at 20 parasangs (75 miles), "as it is said:" in his time a part of the wall was still standing, "Anab." 2, 4; cp. Joseph, "c. Apion." 1, 20. But it is at the same time clear from the whole narrative of Xenophon that the Median wall was not situated at the narrowest point, but far higher up, where the distance between the rivers is far wider, i. e. above Sittace. We have no definite evidence that this wall was built by Nebuchadnezzar. If Strabo ascribes it to Semiramis, that means no more than the fact that the modern inhabitants give the name Sidd Nimrud to the remains. A wall against attacks from the North, against attacks of the Medes, would have no meaning before the rise of the power of the Medes; its origin and importance are entirely due to anxiety in regard to the Medes, and that such anxiety did exist, was due to the experience which Babylonia had had of Assyria, and the relative power of the two kingdoms; and it is also shown in the statements of Herodotus about the object of the windings in the river and the lake. The successors of Nebuchadnezzar were hardly in a position to undertake such works. This could be done at most by Nabonetus; but as Josephus ("c. Apion." 1, 20) quotes from Berosus a comparatively unimportant building of this king, the Median wall would not have been forgotten if it had arisen from him. On the direction of the wall, cp. Grote, "Hist. of Greece," 9, 89.

[694] Beros. fragm. 14, ed. Müller.

[695] Herod. 1, 186.

[696] Herod. 1, 178, 179.

[697] Herod. 3, 159.

[698] Xenoph. "Anab." 2, 2, 6. "Inst. Cyr." 7, 5, 7, 21.

[699] Diod. 2, 7. Cp. Arrian, "Anab." 7, 17, 6. Pseudo-Callisthenes ascribes to Babylon a diameter of no more than 12 stades and 220 or 206 feet: he ascribes to the city of Alexandria in Egypt a diameter of 16½ stades; 1, 31.

[700] Diod. 2, 7.

[701] Eumenes in Æl. "Var. Hist." 3, 23.

[702] So the Ephemerides in Arrian, "Anab." 7, 25, and in Plut. "Alex." c. 75.

[703] "Pol." 3, 1, 12.

[704] Jerem. li. 53, 58.

[705] "Hist. Nat." 6, 26.

[706] Vol. I. p. 295.

[707] Joseph. "c. Apion." 1, 19.

[708] Oppert, "Exped." 1, 140 ff.

[709] Joseph. "c. Apion." 1, 19.

[710] Euseb. "Præp. Evang." 9, 41, 8.

[711] Diod. 2, 10.

[712] Strabo, p. 738.

[713] Oppert, "Exped." 1, 156 ff.

[714] It is the less doubtful that the bridge is the work of Nebuchadnezzar, since the basin of Sepharvaim is vouched for as his work by Berosus.

[715] Diod. 2, 8.

[716] Herod. 1, 186.

[717] "Inst. Cyri," 7, 6.

[718] Ménant, "Babylone," p. 213.

[719] W. A. Inscript. 1, 52. No. 6 in Ménant, "Babylone," p. 215.

[720] Ménant, loc. cit., p. 214

[721] Ménant, loc. cit., p. 213.

[722] Ménant, loc. cit., p. 208.

[723] Colum. 6, 22; 8, 42.

[724] Ménant, "Babylone," p. 200 ff. Rodwell, "Records of the Past," 5, 113 ff. Two private documents of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar are in existence, one from the first part of his reign, 604 B.C.; the second from the twentieth, 584 B.C. Oppert et Ménant, "Doc. Juridiq." p. 257 ff.

[725] Ménant, loc. cit., p. 215.

[726] Joseph. "c. Apion." 1, 19.

[727] Isaiah xiii. 19 ff.

[728] Arrian, "Anab." 7, 19, 4.

[729] Ménant, loc. cit., p. 218.

[730] Berosi fragm. 14, ed. Müller.

[731] 2 Kings xxv. 27-30.

[732] Oppert, "Exped." 2, 324, cf. 1, 181.

[733] Ménant, loc. cit., p. 249.

[734] Berosi fragm. 14, ed. Müller. That Evilmerodach ascended the throne in 561 B.C. is established, not only by the astronomical canon, but also by the statement of the Hebrews that Evilmerodach liberated Jechoniah in the thirty-seventh year of his imprisonment, 2 Kings xxv. 27. Jerem. lii. 31. Between Nebuchadnezzar and Nabonetus the astronomical canon only mentions Evilmerodach and Neriglissar, with six years between them. Josephus supplements this by the dates of the years in Berosus ("c. Apion." 1, 20), which in the result agree with the canon. Cf. Euseb. "Chron." 1, p. 50, ed. Schöne. "Præp. Evang." 9, 40. The accession of Nabonetus in the year 555 B.C. is also fixed by the document in Oppert et Ménant "Doc. Jurid." p. 262. The statements of Josephus ("Antiq." 10, 11, 2) are entirely false and untenable. The name of the last king Nabonetus is established against the Labynetus of Herodotus (1, 77) by the inscriptions.

[735] Oppert, loc. cit., 1, 325, 326.

[736] Oppert, loc. cit., 1, 262, 269.

[737] Oppert, loc. cit., 1, 272 ff.

[738] Vol. I. 289; II. 33. Ménant, loc. cit., pp. 253, 255.

[739] Oppert, loc. cit., 1, 262, 263. Schrader, "Keilinschr. und A. T." s. 280.

[740] Joseph. "c. Apion." 1, 20, 21. Above, p. 354, n. In the fourteenth year of the reign of this Hiram Cyrus conquered Babylon; he must, therefore, have been placed on the throne in 551 B.C.

[741] E. g. Ezek. xx. 1.

[742] Ezek. xx. 40; chaps. xl.-xlviii.

[743] Ezek. ii. 4.

[744] Ezek. xviii. 21-23.



[Pg 398]



Necho's views for subjugating Syria to his dominion, and renewing the campaigns of the ancient Pharaohs to the Euphrates, were wrecked after some successes. The day of Karchemish, which he lost to the Babylonians, carried with it the loss of the conquests in Syria, with perhaps the exception of Gaza and one or two other places of the Philistines. Necho might count himself fortunate that Nebuchadnezzar remained within Syria. His attempt to support the rebellion of Judah against Babylon, which king Jehoiakim ventured upon in the year 597 B.C., miscarried, as we saw above (p. 331). Nebuchadnezzar now took all as far as the brook of Egypt. Necho's son, Psammetichus II., who succeeded his father in the year 595 B.C., took no steps to hinder the fall of the Phenician cities, which were subjugated by Nebuchadnezzar in the year 593 B.C. Of Psammetichus' short reign—it lasted only six years—Herodotus merely tells us that he undertook a campaign against the Ethiopians, and died immediately after it. From this statement we must conclude that since the time of Psammetichus I. and the emigration of a part of the warrior caste, Egypt had been in strained relations with the kingdom of Napata, and the successors of[Pg 399] Urdamane. From the words of Herodotus it would seem that Psammetichus made an unprovoked attack on Ethiopia; but of the success of the undertaking we know nothing. From some words which Greek mercenaries of Pharaoh have left behind them, and the place where they were written, it would seem to have been the intention of Psammetichus to win back for Egypt lower Nubia, which, as we have seen, had for centuries been a province of Egypt.

We know the colossi which Ramses II. caused to be hewn out of the rocks before the entrance of the temple which he excavated at Abu Simbel.[745] On the left thigh of the second colossus from the south some Greeks, Ionians, and Dorians, have cut the following words in Ionic letters: "When Psammetichus came to Elephantine, those who came by vessel with Psammetichus, the son of Theocles, wrote this inscription. They came up above Kerkis, as far as the river permitted. The foreigner Dechepotasimto, the Egyptian Amasis. But Archon, the son of Amœbichus, and Pelecus, the son of Udames, wrote me." Others of the mercenaries, who were acquainted with the art of writing, have also inscribed their names there; we find a Helesibius of Teos, a Telephus of Ialysus, a brother of Archon, Python the son of Amœbichus, and three others. The Phenician mercenaries were not either now or later behind the Greeks: Phenician inscriptions are inscribed beside the Greek.[746] Those of the Greeks prove that Psammetichus had encamped with his army at Elephantine, that he had sent a part of it up the Nile with a Greek, the son of Theocles, who had already got an[Pg 400] Egyptian name, Psammetichus—(which he must, therefore, have obtained under the reign of Psammetichus I.). His object was certainly not to obtain information about the land and the river, which was well enough known to the Egyptians as far as Napata and above it. But it might very well be necessary to ascertain the views and powers of the opponent in Napata. Among the names in the inscription first mentioned the name of the "foreigner Dechepotasimto"—a name which no doubt belonged to an Ethiopian—and the name of the Egyptian Amasis prove that Egyptians and Ethiopians acquainted with the land and the river were in the division of the son of Theocles. How far to the south this division penetrated, we cannot determine, for the place Kerkis, beyond which it passed, is not mentioned elsewhere. On the return the detachment encamped to the north of the falls of Wadi Halfa at Abu Simbel, and those among the Greeks who knew how to write and wished to do so made use of their stay to perpetuate in this manner their journey and their presence in this distant region. Nothing is said of their collision with the Ethiopians; it appears that the ruler of Napata had then abandoned lower Nubia to the Egyptians. If this reconnoitering of the enemy by the detachment of Theocles took place on the campaign of Psammetichus against Ethiopia, of which Herodotus speaks, we must place it in the year 590 B.C., for Psammetichus II. died "immediately after," in the next year.[747] Nothing is left of the monuments of[Pg 401] Psammetichus II.; we merely find his name-shield on the rocks of the islands of Elephantine and Konosso; they may arise from the time when the king was staying there, and had his head-quarters at Elephantine, as the Greeks showed us. We are also told by the sarcophagus of an Apis, buried under the successor of Psammetichus, that this bull was brought into the temple of Ptah in the first year of the reign of Psammetichus II.[748]

In spite of the double subjugation (600 and 597 B.C.), Judah remained in ferment and bitterness against the dominion of Babylon. The accession of Hophrah, the son of Psammetichus II. (Apries of the Greeks, Uahabra of the inscriptions), aroused in Jerusalem, as we saw, the hope of shaking off the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar with the aid of Egypt. According to the statements in the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, which are confirmed by the course of events in Syria, Hophrah must have promised assistance to Zedekiah, king of Judah. The Jews rebelled; but before the Egyptians were ready, Nebuchadnezzar had already invested the fortified cities of Judah, together with the metropolis (588 B.C.). In the next year Hophrah's army marched to the relief of Jerusalem, which held out stubbornly. Nebuchadnezzar raised the siege, in order to meet the Egyptians with the united force of his army. He compelled the Egyptians to retire. After a renewed investment and furious attack, Jerusalem fell (p. 343).

After the fall of Jerusalem, as remarked above, the prophets of the Jews expected that Egypt would be attacked by Nebuchadnezzar and subjugated. From the Chaboras Ezekiel announced to the dwellers on the Nile the bloody vengeance and punishment awaiting them because they had been a staff of reed for Israel;[Pg 402] and Jeremiah, who had been carried to Egypt a few months after the fall of Jerusalem by the Jews who took to flight in consequence of the assassination of the viceroy of Nebuchadnezzar, and had there found a welcome and protection together with the rest, announced at Daphne, on Egyptian soil, to Hophrah and the Egyptians, their destruction by the sword of Nebuchadnezzar; he saw the king of Babylon already enthroned on his carpet at Daphne. But Nebuchadnezzar contented himself with maintaining and fortifying still further his dominion over Syria. He followed up the capture of Jerusalem with the long investment and siege of Tyre. When Tyre finally submitted (573 B.C.), Ezekiel again saw Nebuchadnezzar's army invading Egypt. In reference to the long siege of Tyre, and the fact that it ended not in the storming and plundering of the city, but in coming to terms, Ezekiel says: "Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, caused his army to serve a great service against Tyre: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled; yet he had no wages, nor his army, from Tyre. Now will I give to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, the land of Egypt, and he shall take her multitude and take her spoil and take her prey, and it shall be the wages for his army. I will give him the land of Egypt for his reward, saith Jehovah. The king and his people, and with him the mightiest of the nations, shall be led forth for the desolation of Egypt. They shall draw their sword against Egypt and fill the land with slain. The pride of Egypt shall come down; from Migdol to Syene they shall fall by the sword; and in the same day messengers shall go forth in ships to make the careless Ethiopia afraid. I will make the canals dry. I will destroy the idols, and cause the images to cease out of Noph (Memphis). I will make Patrus[Pg 403] (upper Egypt) desolate, and will set fire to Zoan (Tanis), and will execute judgments in No (Thebes). I will pour my fury upon Sin (Pelusium), the strength of Egypt, and will cut off the multitude of No. I will set fire in Egypt; Sin shall have great pain, and No shall be rent asunder. The young men of On (Heliopolis) and Bubastis shall fall by the sword, and at Tachpanhes (Daphne) the day shall be darkened."[749] But even after the subjugation of Tyre, Nebuchadnezzar did not pass beyond Syria.

Herodotus tells us that Hophrah marched out against Sidon, and fought a battle by sea with the king of Tyre. Of the results of this battle Herodotus says nothing: he only remarks that after his great-grandfather Psammetichus, Hophrah was the most successful of this family. Diodorus narrates: Hophrah attacked Cyprus and Phœnicia with a well-appointed army by land and sea; took the city of Sidon by storm, and the rest of Phenician cities by the terror of his name; conquered the Phenicians and Cyprians in a great battle by sea, and then returned to Egypt with great spoil.[750] These accounts are very extraordinary. In the year 593 B.C., Tyre and Sidon had striven with the Ammonites and Moabites against Nebuchadnezzar; they were[Pg 404] defeated. Then, as has been already shown, Nebuchadnezzar blockaded Tyre from 586 B.C. to 573 B.C. We saw that Hophrah opposed Nebuchadnezzar in the years of the Jewish war, i. e. from his accession till the fall of Jerusalem (589-586 B.C.). If during this period, or subsequently, when Nebuchadnezzar was blockading Tyre, he had made war upon Sidon and Tyre, and the other cities of the Phenicians, he would have worked for Nebuchadnezzar; whereas, on the contrary, he must have regarded it as of the first importance that the last independent city of Syria, Tyre, should not be reduced. He must do for Tyre what he had done for Jerusalem, and for that city also he must venture on war with Nebuchadnezzar. Hence Hophrah can only have carried on war against the Phenician cities in the three last years of his reign (between 573 and 570 B.C.), and this again is only conceivable under the hypothesis that Hophrah set out with the Egyptian fleet against Cyprus, which Diodorus regards as the object of the campaign, in order to prevent this island as well as Tyre from becoming subject to Nebuchadnezzar—in order to obtain in this island a counterpoise to the incorporation of Syria and the Phenician cities in the Babylonian kingdom. The war with Tyre and Sidon would then have broken out because Sidon wished to prevent the island from passing under the dominion of Egypt. But if Hophrah, as Diodorus states, had taken the cities of the Phenicians, he must have taken them from Nebuchadnezzar, which seems highly improbable. If Hophrah wished to take them from Nebuchadnezzar, he could not be guilty of greater folly than to wait thirteen years, till the submission of Tyre, in order to attack the city when it had fallen, and Nebuchadnezzar had established a firm foot on the coasts of Syria. If he wished to liberate the[Pg 405] cities from Babylon, they would have been eager, so far as lay in their power, to receive the Egyptian garrisons; we must then suppose that in their anxiety not to lose their trade with the lands of the Euphrates, they had now vigorously repelled the Egyptians. But if this be so, how are we to explain their earlier resistance, and the thirteen years' struggle of Tyre against Babylon? As already remarked, Herodotus tells us nothing of any successes which Hophrah gained against Tyre and Sidon; in Diodorus the campaign of Hophrah is primarily directed against Cyprus, then against Sidon and the other cities. Hophrah returns home laden with booty; but of permanent successes even Diodorus says nothing. Herodotus, on the contrary, remarks that the successor of Hophrah was the first conqueror of Cyprus; and in Diodorus it is the successor of Hophrah who conquers Cyprus. Besides, after Hophrah's time we find Babylonia still in possession of the supremacy over Tyre (p. 394). It is obviously statements of the Egyptians about the achievements of Hophrah on the coast of Syria, which Herodotus and Diodorus hand down to us: we know the style of the Egyptian accounts of victory; but even according to these, as repeated in Diodorus, there was nothing more than a plundering raid.[751]

The power of Babylon over Syria could not now be shaken. Egypt must be content to be free from attacks. But in the West, in Libya, there was a better prospect of success than against Babylon. Some 60 years[Pg 406] previously Greek settlers had built the city of Cyrene, to the east of the great Syrtis, and the flourishing condition of this city was hardly contemplated with satisfaction in Egypt. Its importance was increased by a great number of new settlers, whom Battus III. had summoned to Cyrene; and to maintain these a considerable portion of land had been taken from the neighbouring Libyans. Adikran, the prince of these tribes, summoned Hophrah to his assistance against the Cyrenæans; for this protection he was prepared to recognise the supremacy of Egypt. Hophrah sent a strong army against Cyrene. But the Cyrenæans succeeded in defeating it at the fountain of Theste, and in inflicting a severe blow on the Egyptians (571 B.C.). This disaster caused a new outbreak of ill-feeling on the part of the Egyptian military caste against the Ionian mercenaries. As these, on whom devolved the protection of the eastern border against the Babylonians, had been left behind, the Egyptian warriors thought that the Pharaoh had purposely sent them to their destruction. On their return the remnant of the army rebelled against the Pharaoh; Hophrah sent Amasis to bring back the troops to obedience.[752]

Amasis of Siuph in the canton of Sais was of humble origin, a man of loose morals, who loved wine, and the pleasures of the table, merriment and riotous living, but still possessed intelligence and ambition. Instead of bringing back the rebellious troops to obedience, he allowed himself when he arrived in the camp to be saluted by them as king. Hearing of this, Pharaoh Hophrah put himself at the head of the Ionians and Carians—they were 30,000 in number—and went to meet the rebels, who had already reached[Pg 407] the borders of Egypt. In spite of the bravest efforts the Ionians and Carians were defeated by the Egyptians at Momemphis, as Herodotus states, or as Diodorus tells us, at Marea, on the south-western shore of Lake Mareotis. Hophrah himself was taken prisoner. Amasis intended to spare him. He brought him to Sais, and there put him in prison in the citadel which his forefather Psammetichus had built. But afterwards Amasis yielded to the request of the people, and gave up Hophrah to the mob who put him to death (570 B.C.).[753]

Thus ended the race of Psammetichus in Egypt; in the same region where his great-grandfather is said to have obtained the liberation of Egypt and the throne, Hophrah had lost it. Since the times of the Ramessids, the Pharaohs of Tanis and Bubastis had no longer sought their sepulchres at Thebes: the family of Psammetichus had prepared a sepulchre at Sais where his citadel stood. It was situated at the temple of Neith the goddess of Sais, at the tomb of Osiris, where the Saites kept the funeral festival of the god: here also was Hophrah's body buried.[754]

Amasis (Ahmes) was raised to the throne by the Egyptians against the Greeks, to break down the influence and favoured position of the foreigners. His victory over the Ionians had brought him to the throne. As soon as he had gained it, he returned back to the system which Psammetichus and his successors had followed, and established it yet more firmly. He made ancient Egypt an Egypto-Grecian state. His first care was to conclude peace and alliance with the Cyrenæans. To king Battus III. of Cyrene he sent a gilded image of the goddess of Sais and his own portrait. He took[Pg 408] to wife a woman of the house of Battus, by name Laodice. The Ionians and Carians conquered by him he removed from the eastern border, from the Pelusiac arm of the Nile, into the interior to Memphis. They were no longer to protect the border of Egypt which was most threatened, but the person of the king. He made them his bodyguard.[755] The Greek merchants he allowed to live at Naucratis under their own overseers and their own system of justice. The settlers came in greater numbers than ever. Greek Hetæræe followed trade into the distant land and accumulated treasures in Egypt.[756] The Greeks were even allowed to erect altars and temples in the country; the king himself provided the necessary sites; a proceeding which must have filled with horror and dismay the priests of the land, and all Egyptians of the old way of thinking. Hence the four Ionian cities, Chios, Teos, Clazomenæ, Phocæa; and the four Dorian, Cnidus, Rhodes, Halicarnassus, Phaselis, and the Æolian Mytilene, built a common shrine for their deities at Naucratis. Miletus erected a special temple to her deity Apollo. Samos and Ægina also built special temples. Amasis went still further: he honoured the Greek gods by dedicatory gifts. Two statues of stone, portraits of himself, and a wonderful corslet, as Herodotus assures us, he dedicated at Cnidus in the temple of Athene; and when the Delphians made a collection among the settlers in Egypt in aid of their temple which had been burnt down, Amasis also sent them a contribution.[757]

If Amasis allowed such advantages to the Greeks, he also knew how to reckon with the old Egyptian feeling. Besides two Greek women, Laodice and Sebaste, he took to wife two Egyptians, of whom one was the daughter of Psammetichus II. The monu[Pg 409]ments of Egypt give us their names, Tentchet and Anchnas. The latter we see represented at Selsilis, beside Amasis, pouring libations to Ammon, Mut, and Chons; her sarcophagus is in existence: Tentchet is mentioned by the successor of Amasis on a monument as his mother; she must therefore have been the sister of Hophrah, the daughter of Psammetichus II.[758] By this union Amasis sought to legitimize his dominion and to connect himself with the race of Psammetichus: and with this view he also gave to the son whom Tentchet bore him the name of his grandfather, Psammetichus. Thus his rule seemed to be only the continuation of the dominion of the descendants of the liberator of the house of Sais.

He exhibited a proper reverence for the worship of Egypt. In the twelfth year of the reign of Hophrah an Apis had died, and had been buried in the customary manner at the expense of the king. In the fifth year of the reign of Amasis (566 B.C.) an Apis was again born, to which Amasis appears to have paid especial honour. To this bull while yet alive, he presented a large coffin of red granite. The inscription on the cover runs thus: "The king Amasis. He has caused this to be made for his memorial of the living Apis, this huge sarcophagus of red granite, for his majesty approved the custom that all the kings in all ages had had such made of costly stones. This did he, the bestower of life for ever."[759] When this Apis died in the year 548 B.C., he was buried with extraordinary pomp, and a memorial stone from the new sepulchres of the Apis (p. 312) informs us what part Psammetichus, the son of Amasis and heir to the throne, took[Pg 410] in this burial, and in all the ceremonials observed during the days of lamentation.[760]

In the effort in which the rulers of Egypt resembled each other almost without exception—in the desire to erect great buildings—Amasis emulated his predecessors. His buildings began with his accession and ended with his life. Sais was adorned by him with the largest and most magnificent works, for which the stones were mostly brought from the quarries at Memphis, and the largest from the quarries at Elephantine. To the temple of Neith at Sais he added marvellous propylæa, which, as Herodotus says, surpassed all others by their height and size, as well as by the size and beauty of the stones of which they were constructed. Here Amasis also set up great colossi and sphinxes, and caused to be brought from Elephantine a chapel hewn out of a single stone 21 cubits in length, 14 cubits in breadth, and 8 cubits in height, which was set up at Sais before the temple of Neith. Two thousand seamen were occupied for three years in bringing this chapel from Elephantine to Sais. A similar memorial of Amasis lies on the site of the ancient Thmuis in the Delta. At Memphis Amasis built a temple to Isis; "a work large and worthy to be seen beyond all others," says Herodotus, and before the temple of Ptah he placed a colossus of 75 feet in height, and on either side of it two statues of Ethiopian stone of 20 feet in height. When Herodotus visited Egypt this mighty colossus lay at Memphis thrown down on its back, and one of equal dimensions (no doubt they were portraits of Amasis) lay in a similar position at Sais. The other temples were not forgotten; Amasis caused restorations to be undertaken at Thebes, especially at the great temple of[Pg 411] Karnak: other temples were also restored and adorned with new buildings and statues. His sepulchre Amasis built at Sais beside the tombs of the race of Psammetichus, whose dynasty he wished to continue, just as he continued and completed their system of government. It lies, says Herodotus, somewhat farther from the temple than the tomb of Hophrah and his forefathers, at the side of the colonnade before the temple. It was a separate colonnade, of which the portico was supported by pillars with capitals carved like palm-branches. In this portico lay the sepulchral chamber, a room of stone closed by double doors.[761] Of the eagerness with which Amasis built we have still evidence in the inscriptions found with his name in all the quarries of Egypt; in the limestone quarries of Memphis, in the granite quarries at Hamamat, and in the sandstone quarries at Selsilis, and in the quarries of red granite in the south of Egypt. The quarries of Hamamat also give us the name of the chief architect of Amasis, "the chief of all the buildings in Upper and Lower Egypt," and his forefathers to the twenty-fourth generation.[762]

Amid the cares of the throne Amasis did not forget the easy and cheerful enjoyment of life, which he loved. When he had finished his business in the morning he sat down to table with his friends, drank deeply, and made merry with them without any regard for the ancient ceremonial of the Egyptian court, or the remonstrances of his friends, who would recall him to more dignified behaviour. Nevertheless, in spite of the favour shown to the Greeks, he knew how to win the good-will of the Egyptians, by a just, moderate, and mild government, and by regard for the well-being of[Pg 412] the land. The tradition of the Egyptians counts him among the lawgivers of the land. He is said to have regulated the economical relations and the duties of the nomarchs as well as their power.[763] With the Greeks too he passed as a ruler of extraordinary wisdom. In any case, under his long reign—he sat on the throne for 44 years—Egypt attained a high degree of prosperity. The freedom of trade brought in products: agriculture, manufactures, and trade were active. "Under Amasis," says Herodotus, "Egypt is said to have been most prosperous, both in regard to that which the river did for the land, and the soil gave to the inhabitants, and at that time there are said to have been 20,000 inhabited places in the land."[764]

But these were the last days of Egyptian splendour. If Babylon had hitherto been a dangerous neighbour, the position of affairs in the East changed in the reign of Amasis for the most decided disadvantage to Egypt. When Cyrus had brought the kingdom of the Medes into his power, he reduced the nations on the east and west of Persia. At length Babylon herself succumbed to the arms of Cyrus in the thirty-second year of the reign of Amasis. With the fall of Babylon Syria became subject to him, so that the youthful and mighty kingdom of the Persians already bordered on Egypt. Amasis avoided giving any support to the resistance offered by Babylon and Lydia to this new power. If he succeeded, after the fall of Babylon, in possessing himself of the island of Cyprus, and so obtaining a position opposite the Syrian coast, which[Pg 413] might paralyse the possession of the Phenician cities, this success, as opposed to the supremacy of Persia, was only of importance in so far as it rendered the use of the Phenician fleet difficult for the Persians. The close connection also into which Amasis entered with Polycrates, who in the year 536 B.C. made himself master of the island of Samos, and got together a splendid fleet of 80 heavy and 100 light ships of war—for Polycrates was threatened more heavily by the neighbourhood of Persia than Egypt was—could only be of use to Egypt in defending her against an attack from the sea; it was useless against the attack of a far superior power by land. If in his last years Amasis could take breath for a moment owing to the death of the great conqueror, the anxiety for the future soon returned with double weight. When Amasis died (526 B.C.) Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, was already preparing a great armament against Egypt. To his son Psammetichus III. (Psammenitus) he bequeathed the difficult task of meeting the attack of the Persians.


[745] Vol I. 175.

[746] They are contemporaneous; if the reading Hamsabatichi (Psammetichus) is correct. The names of the mercenaries are said to be Pethah ben Jethar and Sillon ben Pethiach. Blau. "Z. D. M. G." 19, 522 ff.

[747] If A. Kirchhoff's supplement of inscription No. 9 is correct ("Studien z. G. d. Griechischen Alphabets," s. 353), "ὅκα βασιλεὺς ἤλασε τὸν στρατὸν τὸ πρᾶτον," the date of the expedition of the son of Theocles must be put earlier. Cp. Ross, "N. Jahrbücher f. Philolog." 1854, s. 528 ff. The name of the father of Theocles determines me in accepting Bergk's opinion that these inscriptions of the Ethiopian expedition of Psammetichus II. do not belong to the pursuit of the emigrant soldiers of Psammetichus I. (above, p. 307).

[748] Brugsch, "History of Egypt," II. p. 287.

[749] Ezekiel xxix. 17-21; chap xxx., from the twenty-seventh year of the carrying away captive of Ezekiel, i. e. from the year 571 B.C. Josephus ("Antiq." 10, 9, 7) tells us, it is true, that Nebuchadnezzar invaded Egypt in the fifth year after the capture of Jerusalem, in the twenty-third year of his reign, slew king Hophrah, put another king in his place, and carried away as prisoners to Babylon the Jews who had fled for refuge to Egypt. The death of Hophrah in battle against or by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar contradicts all credible tradition. In the year denoted by Josephus there may have been a sharp contest on the borders, which Josephus has exaggerated in order to favour the statements of the prophets, if, indeed, the year also is not derived from Jeremiah, chap. lii. The carrying away of the Jews who had fled to Egypt has obviously arisen out of Jeremiah's prophecy.

[750] Herod. 2, 160; Diod. 1, 68.

[751] To conclude from the three fragments from Aradus of Egyptian, and especially Saitic style, on one of which Psammetichus I. is read, and the bas-relief of Byblus (Renan, "Mission," p. 25), with the picture of a Pharaoh and Hathor (de Rougé, "Rev. Archéol." N.S. 1863, p. 194 ff), that Hophrah ruled in Aradus and Byblus, is more than rash. From all antiquity there was a lively connection between Egypt and Phœnicia. If the Phenicians built temples in Egypt, the Egyptians might also build temples at Byblus.

[752] Herod. 2, 161, 162; 4, 159.

[753] Herod. 2, 169. Diod. 1, 68.

[754] Herod. 2, 170. Strabo, pp. 802, 803.

[755] Herod. 2, 154.

[756] Herod. 2, 135.

[757] Herod. 2, 178.

[758] De Rougé ("Notice") regards Anchnas as the daughter of Psammetichus II.

[759] Brugsch, "Hist. of Egypt," II. 288.

[760] Brugsch, "Hist. of Egypt," pp. 263, 294.

[761] Herod. 2, 175, 176, 169; 3, 116.

[762] Brugsch, "Hist. of Egypt," II. 299.

[763] Diod. 1, 95.

[764] Herod. 2, 177. According to Diod. 1, 31, Egypt in the ancient time had 18,000 communities, and under the Ptolemies 30,600. According to Theocritus ("Idyll." 17, 83), Egypt possessed 33,600 communities.



[Pg 414]



On the western coast of Asia Minor the nation of the Lydians, which possessed the vallies of the Hermus and Mæander, had early arrived at a monarchy and a point of civilization far in advance of the stages of primitive life. The ancient royal house of the Lydians claimed to be sprung from the gods, from Attys, the son of the god Manes. The city of Sardis is said to have been built under the dominion of this dynasty, to have been dedicated to the sun-god and fortified.[765] This house of the Attyadæ was said to have been followed about the year 1200 B.C. by a second dynasty which carried back its genealogy to Sandon, the sun-god himself, a deity whom the Greeks, according to the various aspects of the nature ascribed to him by the Lydians, sometimes identified with their Apollo, and at other times with their Heracles. As the founder of the new dynasty the Greeks call him Heracles. Agron, the fourth descendant of this Sandon-Heracles, is said to have ascended the throne of Lydia in the year 1194 B.C. After him twenty-two kings, the descendants of Agron, bore the crown of Lydia for a space of 505 years, down to the year 689 B.C.[766][Pg 415]

The power possessed by Lydia under this family of rulers cannot have been very considerable. When the[Pg 416] Greeks forced the Phenicians from the islands of the Ægean Sea, and then, about the end of the eleventh and beginning of the tenth century B.C., landed on the western coast of Asia Minor, the Lydians were not able any more than the Teucrians and Mysians in the North, or the Carians in the South, to prevent the establishment of the Greeks on their coasts, the loss of the ancient native sanctuaries at Smyrna, Colophon, Ephesus, and the founding of Greek cities in their land on the mouths of the Lydian rivers, the Hermus and the Cayster, though the Greek emigrants came in isolated expeditions over the sea. It was on the Lydian coasts that the most important Greek cities rose; Cyme, Phocæa, Smyrna, Colophon, Ephesus. Priene, Myus, and Miletus were on the land of the Carians. The Homeric poems would hardly have omitted to place a strong body of auxiliaries from Mæonia, which is their name for Lydia, by the side of the oppressed Ilium, if the fame of a powerful Lydian kingdom had then existed among the Greeks of the coast. The land of the Lydians is well-known to the Homeric poems; they give a distinct prominence to the trade, wealth, and horse-breeding of the Mæonians; but they make no mention of any prominent race of rulers;[767][Pg 417] and yet the Sandonids were on the throne at Sardis when the poems were sung, and when they came to an end. The loss of her coasts and the mouths of her rivers must have been heavily felt by Lydia. The trade with the sea and beyond it was henceforth only possible by the intervention of the Greek cities which had grown up there.

Of the exploits and fortunes of the kings of the race of Sandon we have almost no information. It is only of the five or six last rulers that we have the names and a few traces; and to these we may add two or three very doubtful stories of the fall of the last king of the house. According to Eusebius, Ardys, Sadyattes, Meles, and Candaules, brought the series of this dynasty to an end: Ardys reigned from 768 to 732 B.C.; Sadyattes down to 718; Meles down to the year 706 B.C., and he was then succeeded by Candaules.[768] The fragments of Nicolaus of Damascus, which must have been derived from the lost history of the Lydian Xanthus, give us the following account: Alyattes, the predecessor of Ardys, had left his kingdom jointly to his sons Cadys and Ardys. Cadys soon died, and Ardys was driven from the throne by Spermus, a relation of Cadys, who during the life of Cadys had had an intrigue with his wife. Ardys with his wife and daughter fled to Cyme, and there he lived in such poverty that he worked as a wheelwright. Two years after the flight of Ardys the usurper was struck down by an assassin whom he had hired against Ardys, and the Lydians sent messengers to Cyme to invite Ardys to ascend again the throne of his fathers. When restored to the throne, Ardys exercised a mild and just rule, and the Lydians had never known such[Pg 418] prosperity since the days of the ancient king Alkimus (I. 561), as they enjoyed under Ardys. The army of the Lydians also was strong under the rule of this king: it numbered 30,000 horsemen.[769] A fragment of Heracleides Ponticus also gives us information about the fortunes of Ardys at Cyme. "Severely oppressed by their ruler the Lydians sent to Cyme, when they found that one of their countrymen was there, to summon him to the throne. The man was the slave of a wheelwright. The Lydians paid his price and took him with them. But a Cymæan who had ordered a wagon kept him back, and told those who remonstrated with him, to put no hindrances in his way, for he considered it a great thing to possess a wagon which the king of the Lydians had made."[770]

Herodotus tells us that Candaules, whom the Greeks call Myrsilus, placed the greatest confidence in Gyges the son of Dascylus, one of his lance-bearers. He went so far in this that he determined to convince Gyges by the evidence of his own eyes that the queen, his consort, was the most beautiful of all women. For this purpose he brought Gyges one evening into his bed-chamber, and bade him place himself behind the open door, so that when the queen undressed herself he might see her naked. This was done. But the queen saw Gyges when he passed out. Enraged at the insult offered to her by Candaules she sent for Gyges on the following morning, and gave him the choice whether he would die on the spot, or slay Candaules on the following night. He chose the latter. She gave him a dagger and concealed him behind the door, and Gyges stabbed Candaules as soon as he was asleep. But the Lydians rose in arms to avenge the death of[Pg 419] their king. The adherents of Gyges and the rest of the Lydians came to a compromise, that, if the oracle of the god should declare for Gyges as the king of the Lydians, he should rule, but if not, Gyges was to restore the kingdom to the race of Sandon.

According to the fragments of Nicolaus it was the good king Ardys who laid the foundation for the overthrow of the house of the Sandonids. In his old age, so we are told, Ardys took great delight in a man of the race of the Mermnadæ. This was Dascylus, the son of Gyges. At length Ardys handed over to him the entire government. Sadyattes, the son and heir of Ardys, became apprehensive that, at the death of Ardys, Dascylus would misuse the great power entrusted to him, in order to establish himself on the throne. He caused Dascylus to be secretly put out of the way. Filled with grief, the old king caused the Lydians to be assembled, had himself carried into the assembly in a litter, bade the Lydians discover the murderers, on whose heads he imprecated bitter curses, and ended by saying that any one who discovered them might slay them. But the murderers were not discovered. After the death of Ardys, Sadyattes ascended the throne, and he was succeeded by Meles. In this reign Lydia was visited by a severe famine, and an oracle demanded that the death of Dascylus should be expiated. The wife of Dascylus had fled to Phrygia, her home, and had there brought forth a son, with whom she was pregnant at the time of his father's death. She had given him the name of his father. Dascylus, who had now grown up, was requested by Meles to return to Sardis, in order to receive there the atonement for the murder of his father. But Dascylus feared to return, and retired to the Syrians who dwell in Sinope, on the Pontus,[Pg 420] where he married a Syrian woman, who bore him Gyges. After the reigns of Meles and Myrsus, Candaules ascended the throne of Lydia. Then the aged brother of the murdered Dascylus, who had remained in Sardis and was childless, besought the king that his nephew Dascylus might be allowed to return to Sardis, that he might adopt him as his son before his death. This prayer the king granted, but Dascylus refused to leave his abode; he sent his son Gyges, then eighteen years old, to his great-uncle at Sardis. Gyges was a handsome youth. In riding and in all martial exercises he surpassed his comrades; and he had also proved his bravery in war. Owing to his stature and his beauty the king took him into his body-guard, made him his favourite, honoured him before all others, and gave him large presents of land. When Candaules would marry Tudo, the daughter of Arnossus, the king of the Mysians, he sent Gyges to bring home the bride. While Gyges was bringing the princess to Sardis in his chariot, he fell violently in love with her, and, no longer master of himself, attempted to embrace her, in spite of her struggles and threats. On her arrival in Sardis she did not conceal what Gyges had done, and the king swore that the offender should be put to death on the next day. A maid who was devoted to Gyges overheard the words of the king and repeated them to Gyges on the same night. Determined to slay the king rather than allow himself to be slain, Gyges collected his nearest friends, besought their assistance, and reminded them of the curse which Ardys had laid on the murderers of his grandfather. In arms they hastened into the royal citadel. The maid opened the door of the bed-chamber for Gyges, who stabbed the sleeping king with his sword. In the morning a message went forth from the citadel to[Pg 421] the chief men in the kingdom; they were to appear before the face of the king. They obeyed without any suspicion, in the belief that they had been summoned by Candaules. Gyges caused those to be slain who, as he thought, would be his enemies, and gave handsome presents to those whom he hoped to win. He armed all whom he gained to his side: the body-guard also took his part, so that the Lydians, when they discovered what had taken place, though they rose against the murderer of the king, did not venture to attack him. But they sent to Delphi to inquire whether they should take Gyges to be their king; and the god bade them do so, and Gyges took Tudo to wife.[771]

In the narrative of Nicolaus it is the curse which Ardys uttered upon the murderers of the first Dascylus, and the late vengeance for this murder which comes upon the descendants of Sadyattes, and causes the overthrow of the kingdom. But the guilt of Sadyattes is not the only cause: Ardys himself sinned by the excessive confidence which he reposed in Dascylus; and Candaules goes further still in his blind confidence in the grandson of Dascylus; he gives him land; he sets him above all others; he commissions the youth of twenty years to bring home the royal bride to her marriage.[Pg 422] The same fault of excessive and misplaced confidence, though in another direction, is in Herodotus the cause of the overthrow of Candaules and his house. In a third version, given by Plutarch, we still find the same motive. When Heracles had slain Hippolyte (the queen of the Amazons), he gave her battle-axe to Omphale. The kings who ruled over Lydia after Omphale, had carried this battle-axe, each handing it to his successor, down to Candaules, who disregarded it and gave it to his favourite to carry; but this favourite in Plutarch is not Gyges.[772]

The relation into which Herodotus represents the wife of Candaules as entering, after her dishonour, with Gyges, the guard of her husband, appears to be founded on a similar story, which a legend ascribes to an ancestor of Gyges. Gyges, the forefather of Lydus, so we are told in Plato, was one of the shepherds of the king of the Lydians. After a severe storm of rain and an earthquake, the earth opened where he was keeping his cattle. Out of curiosity he descended into the gulf, and saw marvellous things: among others a brazen horse with windows, through which he saw a dead man of superhuman size, who had nothing on beyond a golden ring on his finger. This ring Gyges took, and climbed out. When he sat among the rest of the shepherds in order to give the king the monthly account of the condition of the flocks, with this ring on his finger, he happened to turn the stone on it towards himself. Then he perceived that the others did not see him, and spoke of him as though absent. When he turned the stone away from himself, he was again seen by them. Having assured himself of this fact, he procured that he should be chosen among the messengers sent to the[Pg 423] king. There he won the favour of the queen, united with her for the overthrow of the king, slew him, and seized the throne.[773]

We saw that the Lydians derived the tribes of their nation from Attys and Cotys; the sons of the god Manes, and from the sons of Lydus, Torrhebus and Asius. If the first Gyges could be called an ancestor of Lydus, he must have held a high position in the legend of the Lydians. This conclusion is confirmed by the Homeric poems in which the lake of Gyges is the centre of the Lydian land and the Lydian life. On this lake of Gyges the descendants of the youngest Gyges, his successors on the throne, which he had won for them, had their tombs; but the graves of the kings before them were also to be sought on the same lake. The race of the Mermnadæ, which carried back its origin to the first Gyges, must, therefore, have been ancient and important among the Lydians. Conscious of such a descent, it may have considered itself little inferior to the house of the kings, whose ancestor was the sun-god himself. We might, perhaps, assume that the Mermnadæ, in the later days of Ardys or after him, attained to prominent importance; that anxiety on account of this prominence brought on them persecution and expulsion on the part of the successors of Ardys. The wife of the murdered Dascylus flies to the Phrygians; her son of the same name takes refuge with the Syrians on the Pontus, at Sinope. Hence the exiles sought not only protection but also support among their neighbours against the kings of the Lydians. Pausanias mentions to us a place belonging to Dascylus on the White Plain in Caria, on the borders of Lydia;[774] and Plutarch tells us: "Arselis, the Carian of Mylasa, came to the aid of Gyges, the[Pg 424] son of Dascylus the younger, when he fought against Candaules, and helped Gyges to victory. Arselis slew both Candaules and the youth to whom Candaules had given the sacred symbol of the royal office of Lydia, and placed the battle-axe as an ornament in the hand of the statue of Zeus at Mylasa." Hence Gyges was in communication with the Carians when he rebelled against Candaules.

We may go a step further. At the time when Candaules reigned over Lydia (706-689 B.C.), the Cimmerians invaded Phrygia from Pontus, the very region to which the younger Dascylus, the father of Gyges, is said to have fled; king Midas took his own life in consequence of this disaster (696 B.C.). The Magnesians, who inhabited the most inland city of the Greeks on the lower Mæander, suffered at the hands of the Cimmerians a defeat much lamented by the Greeks; and the poet Callinus of Ephesus cried to his countrymen, "the army of the Cimmerians, who have done mighty deeds, is approaching," and urged them to brave resistance.[775] Lydia was not spared. Sardis was taken by the Cimmerians (I. 542). The storm passed over, but it had beyond a doubt deeply shaken the Lydian kingdom and the position of king Candaules. Of this king we only know that he paid the Greek painter, Bularchus, for a picture which represented the battle and defeat of the Magnesians with an equal weight of gold, though the picture was of moderate size only. This was a passion for art little in accordance with the position of his kingdom, and it seems to confirm the account of Plutarch that Candaules reigned with little care, and left the government to a favourite. After the blow which Lydia suffered by the invasion of the Cimmerians, the[Pg 425] Mermnadæ must have considered that their time was come. Whether they were really allowed to return, whether Gyges had a place in the body-guard or not, cannot be decided. What is certain is that he did not attain to the throne without an open struggle, whether it was against Candaules himself, or his party, the party of the ancient royal family; it is certain, too, that Carian troops supported him, though the Arselis in Plutarch is not a Carian, but the Carian war-god, or the axe of this war-god of Mylasa.[776] Moreover, it is certain that Gyges was not able to overcome by force of arms the resistance of the Lydians, who adhered to the ancient royal family. In Herodotus, as in Nicolaus, the Lydians take up arms against Gyges; in both the decision which follows is due to the oracle of the god. The arrangement in Herodotus—if the oracle of the god declared for Gyges he was to reign, and if against him, the kingdom was to go back to the race of Heracles, i. e. of the sun-god—may be regarded as historical, and that the decision should be sought from the deity, from whom the house hitherto on the throne sprang, shows that the Lydians adhered firmly to their ancient royal family.

The decision of the civil war in Lydia was sought in Delphi. The fame of the temple at Delphi, which belonged to the light-god of the Hellenes, had long reached the Lydians and Phrygians through the Greeks of the coast. Before this time Midas of Phrygia had dedicated a pedestal and other presents at Delphi (I. 527). As the Greeks recognised their Apollo and their Heracles in the sun-god of the Lydians (I. 564), so did the Lydians regard the god of light, the archer-god of Delphi, as their own sun-god. The impartial sun-god of the stranger was to decide whether the[Pg 426] descendants of the native sun-god were to lose or keep the throne. The oracle of the god of Delphi decided for Gyges. In gratitude he sent rich presents, a great mass of silver and gold, to Delphi. Herodotus mentions especially six golden milk-vessels, thirty talents in weight.[777]


[765] Vol. I. p. 563 ff.

[766] Herodotus allows 170 years for the Mermnadæ, the successors of the Heracleidæ of Lydia. If the fall of Crœsus is to be placed, as I shall prove in Book VIII. chap. 6, in the year 549 B.C., his ancestor Gyges must have ascended the throne in 719 B.C. (549 + 170 = 719). In the canon of Eusebius the series of the Lydian kings begins with the Sandonid Ardys, whose accession Eusebius places immediately before Olymp. I., and it continues 230 years. In the same canon the date of the Mermnadæ begins 150 years before the fall of Crœsus, and consequently in the year 699 B.C. (549 + 150 = 699). Hence Eusebius allows 20 years less then Herodotus to the Mermnadæ. The fact that Herodotus allows 106 years to two rulers of the five Mermnadæ, is no reason for departing from his dates. But we have seen above that the first invasion of the west of Asia Minor by the Cimmerians must be placed about the year 700 B.C. The time is fixed more exactly by the fact that Midas of Phrygia, whose wife was the daughter of Agamemnon king of Cyme (I. 527), who dedicated a throne at Delphi, before Gyges sent presents there, reigned, in Eusebius, from 738 B.C. to 696 B.C., in which year he killed himself by bull's blood, because the Cimmerians invaded his land: Strabo, p. 61. It was in this invasion of the Cimmerians that Magnesia succumbed; the fall of which Archilochus mentioned in the line, "I weep for the disaster of the Thasians, not of the Magnesians," fragm. 19, ed. Bergk. When this happened Gyges was not yet king of Lydia. Candaules, the last Sandonid, was still on the throne. "Is it not admitted," says Pliny, "that the picture of Bularchus, which represented the battle of the Magnesians, was purchased for its weight in gold by Candaules, the last king of the race of the Heracleidæ, who is also called Myrsilus?" "Hist. Nat." 35, 34 (35, 8 in Detlefsen). And also "King Candaules paid for the picture of Bularchus representing the defeat of the Magnesians—a work of moderate size—with its weight in gold:" loc. cit. 7, 39 (7, 38 in Detlefsen). According to this Midas was on the throne before Gyges, and Magnesia fell before the Cimmerians when the last Heracleid held sway in Lydia; and as the Cimmerians could only reach Magnesia through Phrygia, Candaules must have sat on the throne in the year 696 B.C. and later. Hence both the numbers of Herodotus which give 719 B.C., and those of Eusebius which give 699 B.C. for the accession of Gyges, are too high. But the latter allow an abbreviation of ten years. In Herodotus twelve years are allowed to Sadyattes, the third Mermnad: in the canon of Eusebius he has fifteen years; but in the list of Lydian kings in the first book, which in the rest agrees with the canon (it is unimportant that Gyges has in the former 35, in the latter 36 years, Ardys 37 in the one and 36 in the other), we find only five years instead of fifteen given to Sadyattes. If we accept this abbreviation Candaules was still on the throne in the year 696 B.C. Gyges ascended the throne after Midas and Candaules in the year 689 B.C. There are other grounds, beside these quoted, which make this necessary. Assurbanipal of Asshur told us of his dealings with Gyges, of the league between Gyges and Psammetichus, to whom Gyges sent help: Assurbanipal began to reign in 668 B.C. Psammetichus was first placed over Sais as a vassal in Assyria in 664, and could not have rebelled against Assyria before 654 B.C. (p. 300). But according to the dates of Herodotus Gyges came to an end in 684 B.C.; and if we follow the date given for the beginning of his reign in Eusebius he died in 663. Hence the only possible solution is to assume the numbers of the first book of Eusebius, with the reduction for Sadyattes. Hence the dates for the reigns are as follows: Gyges, 689-653; Ardys, 653-617; Sadyattes 617-612; Alyattes, 612-563; Crœsus, 563-549 B.C.

[767] The catalogue of the ships ("Il." 2. 864) mentions only Mesthles and Antiphos as the leaders of the Mæonians, sons of Pylæmenes, and the nymph of the lake Gygæa.

[768] According to the reduction established above for the third Mermnad in the canon, Ardys begins 778 B.C.

[769] Nicol. Damasc. fragm. 49, ed. Müller.

[770] Heracl. Pont. fragm. 11, 1, 2, ed. Müller.

[771] Though the last Sandonid is also called Sadyattes in Nicolaus, I have put Candaules in the text because he, like the Candaules of Herodotus, is the son of Myrsus. The reign of Myrsus is not found in the canon or in the other three lists of Lydian kings in Eusebius. The four Mermnads, Gyges, Dascylus, Dascylus, Gyges, must be met by four Heracleids, Ardys, Sadyattes, Meles, and Candaules. Myrsus might have arisen out of the name Myrsilus, which the Greeks gave to Candaules, or Candaules was the son of a Myrsus who did not reign. That the last Sandonid reigned only three years as Nicolaus supposes is impossible. According to this Gyges gained the throne at 21 years of age. And what we know from other sources of Candaules does not agree with so short a reign. We must therefore keep to the statement of Eusebius.

[772] Vol. I. p. 573. Plutarch, "Quæst. Græc." 45.

[773] Plato, "De Rep." p. 359, 360.

[774] Pausan. 4, 35, 11.

[775] Fragm. 2, 3, ed. Bergk.

[776] Vol. I. p. 573.

[777] Herod. 1, 14.



[Pg 427]



The Delphian priesthood did no service to their countrymen on the western shore of Asia Minor when in the year 689 B.C. they helped Gyges to the throne in spite of the resistance of the Lydians. The cities of the Greeks on these coasts, whose founders had in days past been expelled by war and distress from their cantons, had come to power and prosperity in the course of the three centuries which had since elapsed. Forced to a vigorous exercise of their powers, amid an environment of many new impulses, they surpassed the motherland in poetry and art, in navigation and trade. From their harbours they exported the products of Phrygia and the manufactures of Lydia to the Cyclades, to Chalcis and Eretria, to Corinth and the mainland of Hellas. Thus they gradually grew up into a naval power which drove even the trading ships of the Phenicians from the Ægean Sea, opened the Black Sea, and already began to rival the Phenicians in the south and west of the Mediterranean. Springing up on the soil of Lydia these cities barred the mouths of the Lydian rivers, the highways to the sea, and excluded the Lydian people from intercourse with the sea. Miletus, Myus, and Priene commanded the mouth of the Mæander; Ephesus and Colophon the[Pg 428] mouth of the Cayster; Phocæa and Cyme the mouth of the Hermus. An active prince on the throne of Lydia could not endure that the Greeks should remain in possession of the coast, which they had taken from the Lydians, and keep the Lydians for ever cut off from the sea. The new dynasty must attempt to recover the losses which their predecessors had been unable to prevent.

When confronted by the power of the Lydians collected in the hands of a single warrior, the Greek cities could not, for long, avoid falling into a position similar to that in which the Phenicians at that time found themselves as opposed to the Assyrians. Lydia was not indeed so strong as Assyria, but it lay nearer at hand; and the resources of Phocæa, Smyrna, Colophon, Ephesus, and Miletus, could not bear comparison with those of Tyre, Sidon, and Aradus. In spite of their common origin and kindred blood, the Greek cities, like those of the Phenicians, were without any political combination. It is true that the Ionian cities offered each year a common sacrifice to Poseidon, on the sea-shore under the spur of Mount Mycale, but for the rest, not only was each community isolated from the others, but the communities were often at feud among themselves. Even in the bosom of the separate cities the opposition of parties was not wanting: it was not long since the nobles had overthrown the monarchy, and taken the government into their own hands. If the citizens ventured to give battle in the open field, and the Lydians by means of their superior forces drove them back into their walls, and laid waste their crops, the cities which did not lie immediately on the sea were exposed to continued devastation, and with the greater certainty because these devastations could be made more severe by sieges. Even the cities[Pg 429] on the sea could hardly support for any length of time the desolation and loss of their land. Ephesus had extended her possessions on land from the mouth of the Cayster as far northward as Tmolus; Colophon too had a considerable acreage of land.

Mysia and the Troad were the districts, which, as it seems, Gyges first subjugated to his dominion.[778] The founding of Dascyleum beyond the Rhyndacus, not far from the shore of the Propontis, which bears the name of his father, may be ascribed to him. Next he turned against the Greek cities, and there he found a vigorous resistance. Established at first in conflict with the nations of the coast, these cities had grown up amid feuds and by navigation, and contained in their walls a brave race of men. From the time that Gyges opened the attack upon them, one hundred and twenty years passed before they lost their independence in spite of their isolation, though the course of the struggle inflicted various losses upon them. Even during the continuance of this struggle they made very considerable progress on the sea, in art and science, and when they fell it was hardly less through the struggles which shattered them from within, than through the arms of the Lydians. Gyges first attacked Magnesia on Sipylus, the Greek city which lay nearest to Sardis. After repeated devastation of the land he finally succeeded in making himself master of the city.[779] The next attack fell on Smyrna. It was a severe struggle. The Smyrnæans thought themselves sufficiently strong to meet the Lydians in the open field. They withstood their attacks in the plain, and their venturous courage was not without success. On one[Pg 430] occasion it happened that they were defeated by Gyges and the Lydians, and driven into the city. The Lydians forced their way into the gates along with the fugitives. But the courage and bravery of the Smyrnæans were successful in hurling back the enemies.[780] Nor did any better success attend the attack of Gyges on Miletus; but against Colophon he obtained some advantage.[781]

Such are the accounts given by the Greeks of the deeds of Gyges. From these it appears that Gyges justified his usurpation of the throne by attacks, more or less successful, against the ancient opponents who checked the rise of Lydia. It is also clear from other sources of information, that he had himself to beat off the attacks of a mighty enemy, and that he was by no means fortunate in withstanding them. Among the Greeks we have only a brief and accidental statement, from which we could conclude that Gyges had to deal with other enemies beside the Greek cities. This statement merely tells us that the Cimmerians had settled in Antandrus on the coast of the Troad for a century. The Cimmerians are said to have been first driven out by Alyattes king of Lydia, who reigned down to 563 B.C.; those Cimmerians therefore who inhabited Antandrus, must have come there at the time of Gyges, who reigned from 689 to 653 B.C. That Gyges had really to undergo severe struggles with the Cimmerians we learn from the distant east, from Nineveh. The inscriptions of Esarhaddon of Asshur (681-668 B.C.) told us that Tiuspa, the chief[Pg 431] of the distant land of the Cimmerians, had submitted to him (p. 151). As the Assyrians held the Moschi, the Tibarenes, and the Cilicians in dependence, the Cimmerians when settled on the lower Halys, which event took place before the year 700 B.C., became neighbours of the Assyrian kingdom. Assurbanipal of Assyria tells us that Gyges of Lydia submitted to him, that afterwards he was successful against the Cimmerians, and sent in chains to Nineveh chiefs of the Cimmerians whom he had taken in the battle. Assurbanipal, as we saw, ascended the throne in 668 B.C.; the reign of Gyges came to an end in 653 B.C. Hence his messages to Assurbanipal could only fall between the years 668 and 653 B.C. It is quite conceivable that Gyges when pressed by a new advance of the Cimmerians towards the West sought the aid of the king of Assyria, the powerful neighbour of the Cimmerians in the East, in order that pressure might be put from that side on these enemies of Lydia. Assurbanipal does not tell us that he sent any assistance to Gyges; he merely tells us that Gyges after paying homage to him was enabled by the glory of his (Assurbanipal's) name to bring the Cimmerians to his feet, and fought successfully against them. Afterwards Gyges hardened his heart, put confidence in his own power, and sent his soldiers to aid Pisamilki of Egypt, who had thrown off the yoke of Assyria. As a punishment for this the Cimmerians conquered and devastated his whole land; his body was thrown to his enemies, and his servants were carried away captive.

From these statements we must conclude that the wars which Gyges carried on against the Greek cities belonged to the first twenty years of his reign; that new incursions of the Cimmerians into Phrygia, and a[Pg 432] fresh advance on their part against Lydia, put an end to the attacks of Gyges on the Greeks; and when Gyges had summoned the assistance of Assyria, the Cimmerians were driven back. When delivered from the Cimmerians Gyges intended no doubt to put an end to his dependence on Assyria, and to aid in bringing to destruction this mighty power, which both from Cilicia and from the Halys might bring ruin upon him. With this object he may have entered into connections with Psammetichus, agreeing to send him Ionians and Carians to overpower his fellow-princes, in order to maintain the contest against Assyria at the head of the newly-united Egypt. Lydia had little to fear from Assyria, if Egypt revolted at the same time, since it was probable that all the efforts of that country would be directed against the valley of the Nile. Gyges could not send auxiliary troops into Egypt later than the year 653 B.C. (for his reign came to an end in that year). Hence his relations to Assyria would fall within the years 665-655 B.C. Whether Assurbanipal, in order to punish the defection of Gyges, urged the Cimmerians to resume the war, we cannot certainly say. We cannot contest the statement of the inscriptions of Assurbanipal that Gyges fell in this war, though it is remarkable that the Greeks know nothing or tell us nothing of such an important occurrence. Herodotus tells us expressly that beside the wars against Miletus, Smyrna, and Colophon, Gyges performed no action of importance.[782]

Of the son and successor of Gyges, Assurbanipal tells us that he sent to him, disapproved of his father's breach with Assyria, and pledged his own submission (p. 178). The inscriptions which deal with the relations of Assyria and Lydia are without dates. But[Pg 433] from the connection of the narrative, and with reference to the statement that Gyges fell in battle against the Cimmerians, we must assume that the accession of Ardys, the son of Gyges, took place in the midst of the war with the Cimmerians, and that he made his pledge of submission to Assyria in the first year of his reign, in that time of distress. Herodotus tells us that the Cimmerians invaded Lydia in the reign of Ardys—which continued from 653 to 617 B.C.[783]—and took Sardis, except the Acropolis; that the cities of the Ionians were attacked by the Cimmerians, and plundered though not conquered.[784] It would be easy to connect this second capture of Sardis with the narrative of the Assyrians and the fall of Gyges, and thus place it in the commencement of the reign of Ardys. But this connection would destroy the coincidence in time between the Scythian invasion of Asia and the Cimmerian invasion of Ionia, which Herodotus mentions, and at the same time removes the ground which can alone explain the combination of the two (p. 277). Herodotus places the incursion of the Scythians into Media quite definitely in the first year of Cyaxares of Media, i. e. according to his chronology, in the year 633 to 630 B.C. The second capture of Sardis, therefore, and the attack on the Ionian cities, must have taken place about 630 B.C.

It remains to assume that the Cimmerians, after inundating Lydia in the time of Candaules and taking Sardis, after repeated wars with varied success against Gyges in the last decade of his reign, which finally ended in the death of Gyges, were a source of serious danger to Ardys in the first and larger half of his reign. Concerning the campaign of the Cimmerians, which brought Sardis for a second time into their[Pg 434] hands, we learn from Greek accounts that the Cimmerians were commanded by Lygdamis,[785] and that they brought Ephesus into great straits.[786] "Lygdamis," so Callimachus says, "led the army of the horse-milking Cimmerians, which lay encamped on the strait of the daughter of Inachus," against Ephesus; in the plain of the Cayster their chariots rested, and he threatened to destroy the temple of Artemis, but the goddess protected her shrine. Another statement tells us, on the contrary, that Lygdamis burnt the temple of Artemis.[787] "It was a passing raid," says Herodotus, "not a subjugation of the cities."

It is clear that Ardys became master of his land, at any rate, in the last third of his reign. In this period, and under his successor Sadyattes (617-612 B.C.), there were no further incursions of the Cimmerians, and Alyattes, the successor of Sadyattes (612-563 B.C.), succeeded in completely breaking their power. Herodotus tells us that Alyattes drove the Cimmerians out of Asia.[788] This was not the case: elsewhere we find it stated that it was they who again attacked Alyattes.[789] They were no doubt confined by the arms of Alyattes to their abode on the banks of the lower Halys; they became subject to the Lydians, and were lost, as we saw, in the Cappadocians, whose name among the Armenians is Gamir, i. e. Gimirai, Cimmerians.[790]

The repeated incursions of the Cimmerians into the west of Asia Minor in the course of the seventh century had important consequences for the lands affected by them on this side of the Halys. The nearest neighbouring states, especially Phrygia, were severely shaken[Pg 435] by them, more severely, beyond a doubt, than Lydia.[791] From about the year 630 B.C., under the strong guidance of Ardys, Sadyattes, and Alyattes, Lydia arose with firmness and energy, and became a protecting power against the Cimmerians for the west of Asia Minor. This position, and the superiority which Lydia also possessed in the harder and severer nature of her population, brought about the result that when Gyges had subjugated Mysia, Phrygia as far as the Halys became dependent on the Lydian kingdom in the last years of Ardys, or in the time of his successor Sadyattes. For the Lydian dominion over Asia Minor the Cimmerians had prepared the way even more thoroughly than the Scythians had prepared the way for the Medes in the East. As Lydia and Media were the first to recover, they soon obtained the supremacy in the one case as in the other. If it could be said of Alyattes that he expelled the Cimmerians from Asia Minor, the dominion of Lydia must at least have extended to the Halys. It was on this river that the two new powers, rising on the East and the West, came into collision.

The Greeks of course can only give us precise information about the struggles of Ardys, Sadyattes, and Alyattes against the cities of the coast. Herodotus tells us that Ardys like Gyges attacked Miletus, without achieving any success: he succeeded however in taking Priene, opposite Miletus, at the entrance of the Milesian Gulf. Other accounts and later events show that this conquest was not maintained.[792] We must put the attacks of Ardys on the Greek cities in the last decade of his reign (627-617 B.C.). Sadyattes[Pg 436] directed his efforts against Smyrna and Miletus, which at that time was governed by the tyrant Thrasybulus.[793] The Milesians went out to meet the Lydian army in the open field. But they were defeated in two great battles, first at Limeneum, and then on the Mæander, and were thus compelled to shut themselves up in the walls. Behind these Sadyattes could do them no harm.

Herodotus tells us that Sadyattes contented himself with destroying the harvest of the Milesians every year as soon as the corn was ripe in the land of the city, and with cutting down the fruit-trees. This went on for six years till his death, when his son and successor continued the war in the same manner. When at length he believed that the Milesians were brought into distress and scarcity by these continual devastations, in the twelfth year of the war, he was deceived by a stratagem of Thrasybulus. Thrasybulus learnt from Corinth that a herald of the king would come into the city to offer a truce. The citizens were commanded, therefore, to bring out into the market-place all the corn which was to be found in the houses, as though it were for sale there, and to keep holiday with banquets and merry-making. Convinced by the account of his herald that all his efforts hitherto had been in vain, Alyattes concluded a treaty of peace with the Milesians.[794] No weight can be laid on the details of this narrative. In the twelfth year of the war, according to Herodotus, when the fields were being laid waste and the corn burned, the temple of Athene at Assessus was set on fire. Alyattes then fell sick, and as he remained sick a long time he sent to Delphi to inquire about his recovery. Delphi replied:[Pg 437] The god would give no answer till the temple was rebuilt. This became known to Periander of Corinth, and he imparted the information to Thrasybulus—such at least, Herodotus remarks, is the story of the Milesians. Thrasybulus assumed that Alyattes would ask for an armistice in order that he might be able to rebuild the temple; and made the arrangements already described. In any case Alyattes was in a position to obtain more accurate information about the condition of Miletus than could be got by a herald. How could it be supposed that there would be a want of provisions in a great trading city like Miletus, which Alyattes had not debarred and could not debar from intercourse with the sea? When the peace and the treaty had been concluded, and Alyattes had built two temples in the place of the one that had been burnt, he recovered his health.

It is certain that Miletus maintained herself against the attacks of the Lydian kings. Undisturbed by them she founded Parium and Lampsacus on the Hellespont. In union with Phocæa, Teos, and Clazomenæ, she entered into trade with Egypt, whose harbours Psammetichus had opened to the Ionians; about the year 640 B.C. she sent her fleet to aid the Eretrians in Eubœa, who were engaged in a severe struggle with the Chalcidians; about the year 630 B.C. she sent out a new colony to Sinope, which had succumbed to the Cimmerians (I. 545), and built Tomi at the mouths of the Danube. That the kings of Lydia directed their efforts mainly against Miletus is intelligible. If the most powerful city of the Greeks were subject to them, the others would submit without any further struggle. It is possible that the rebellion of the people against the nobles, the fierce party struggles which followed from these and allowed Thrasybulus to establish a tyranny[Pg 438] in Miletus, may have excited in the Lydians the hope of overcoming the city with less difficulty. It speaks much for the strength of Miletus that her citizens were able to meet the Lydians in the open field. There can hardly be a doubt that the land of the Milesians was devastated for several successive years. The Lydians must have attempted to wear out the city by this means, to rouse dissatisfaction among the landed proprietors by their losses, and among the lower classes by causing a scarcity. The owners of the land lost each year their crops and their sheep; with these the raw material for the important wool industry of the Milesians was destroyed, and trade with the interior was impossible. When, however, the Lydians found that the city held out stubbornly they at length desisted, and preferred to win the first city of the Greeks by treaty rather than by war.

According to the dates which we obtained above for the reign of Gyges and his successors, the twelve years' war against Miletus mentioned by Herodotus must have begun under Ardys, and ended under Sadyattes. It was in the last years of Sadyattes (617-612 B.C.), in the year 615 B.C., as we saw above, that the great war began between the Medes and the Lydians, which Herodotus puts in the time of Alyattes (612-563 B.C.). The advances of the Median power to the West and their approach to the Halys must have compelled the Lydians to put an end to the war with Miletus, in order to protect the eastern border of their kingdom. We know the supposed cause and the course of the war between Lydia and Media, which went on to the year 610 B.C., with varying fortune, but not to the disadvantage of the Lydians.[795] The Lydians, though far[Pg 439] weaker in numbers, showed themselves vigorous opponents of the Medes. The severe struggle could find no more honourable close for Media than the treaty which made the Halys the limit between Lydia and Media, and united the two countries by marriage as well as by treaty. Aryanis, the daughter of Alyattes, became the wife of Astyages, the son of Cyaxares of Media (p. 289).

Secured in the east by the alliance with Media Alyattes could direct his whole force to the establishment of the Lydian power within the Halys. The Carians were subjugated.[796] Alyattes did not obtain equal successes over the Greek cities, though Miletus, true to the treaty, held aloof. His attack on Smyrna was perhaps the occasion on which Mimnermus repeated in his poems to his countrymen the brave deeds of the Smyrnæans in old days against Gyges (p. 429), and attempted to rouse the courage of the present generation by the memory of the achievements of the past. He reminded the Smyrnæans how they had once driven the Lydians out of the gates of their city. In some verses which have come down to us he praises the deeds of a hero of olden time, not without a reproachful side-glance at the living generation: "Not of such a kind was the courage and the brave heart of the warrior, of whom the forefathers told me, how that they had seen him, spear in hand, on the plain of the Hermus, driving before him the troops of the mounted Lydians. In the courage of his stout heart[Pg 440] Pallas Athene herself could find nothing to reproach, when in the bloody fight he pressed onward with the foremost, beset with the thick volley of the enemy. Never man knew better how to withstand the tumult of battle, so long as the sun shone on him."[797] Perhaps the Smyrnæans were no longer fired with the martial courage of old days; in any case the superiority of the Lydians was very great. Alyattes took Smyrna, and in order to keep the city in more complete subjection, he caused the walls to be thrown down, and forced the Smyrnæans to dwell in an unfortified place.[798] Colophon was also captured. This was a rich city even before the time of Gyges; the greater part of the citizens are said to have been prosperous. Xenophanes reproaches his fellow-citizens of Colophon that they had learnt luxurious habits from the Lydians, that the senators of the city—they were a thousand in number, chosen from all the men of property—came to the market-place in "garments wholly coloured with purple," "pluming themselves on their beautifully-arranged hair, and drenched with the perfumes of costly ointments." According to the account of[Pg 441] Athenæus the meals of the Colophonians began in the morning and continued till the lamps were lit, to the sound of harps and flutes played by women after the manner of the Lydians; after this the night was spent in drinking, so that some beheld neither the rising nor the setting sun. In this way the Colophonians had lost their old military valour, and had infected the Milesians.[799] We are not in a position to decide whether the fine clothes of the Colophonians and their delight in feasting and drinking took the vigour out of their defence of the city or not; this only is clear, that isolated cities like Smyrna and Colophon, even with the most heroic resistance, must eventually succumb to a kingdom like that of the Lydians. In any case we have rather to recognise the resistance which unimportant cities such as Priene made, than lament the cowardice of the citizens. Theognis of Megara remarks that Smyrna and Colophon, like Magnesia before them, came to destruction owing to their excess of valour.[800] With the subjugation of Colophon the successes of Alyattes ended. Priene resisted a long siege with success: from Clazomenæ he was compelled to retire with great losses.[801]

Gradually strengthening themselves in severe struggles, the Mermnadæ had approved their position as leaders of the Lydians. How deeply rooted was the attachment of the nation to the expelled royal family, and what respect the Mermnadæ paid to this stubborn preference, is clear from the fact that Gyges himself called his son Ardys after the name of a king of the ancient house; and in the same way his grandson and[Pg 442] great-grandson repeat the ancient names Sadyattes and Alyattes. The reign of Alyattes, extended almost to half a century, appears to have borne good fruits for the domestic relations of Lydia. The subject nations, the Mysians, Bithynians, Phrygians, Paphlagonians, and Carians, must without doubt have paid heavy tribute. From this, from the product of the gold washing in the Pactolus, the mines in Tmolus and Sipylus, Alyattes collected a large treasure in the citadel at Sardis. The Lydians preserved a grateful memory of Alyattes,[802] "the most just and wise of their kings," as Xanthus calls him. His guidance had set them entirely free from the risks so often brought upon their country by the Cimmerians, had raised them to be the dominant nation in Asia Minor, and in time of peace the kingdom was no doubt brought into excellent order by him.

Hipponax of Ephesus points out the way to Smyrna to a friend by the following marks: "Go through the region of the Lydians, past the grave of Alyattes, past the monument of Gyges and the pillars, past the monument of Attys, the great king, with your face to the setting sun."[803] Herodotus tells us: "Lydia possesses a work which is the greatest of all, except the works of the Egyptians and the Babylonians, and it is the monument of Alyattes. The lower part consists of great stones, six stades and two plethra in circumference (3800 feet); the remainder is a heap of earth, which the merchants and the traders, the artizans and workmen, and the courtesans built. On the monu[Pg 443]ment above stood, even in my time, five stone pillars, and the inscriptions on these told us what each section had paid, and the measure of that which the courtesans built was the largest."[804] Xenophon also speaks of a large tomb in the neighbourhood of Sardis, on the summit of which were five pillars.[805]

The princes of the Lydians had their sepulchres beyond the Hermus, on a rocky plateau, about five miles to the north of Sardis, between the Hermus and the southern shore of the great Gygæan lake. On this field of the dead, which the Osmans call Bin Tepe, i. e. the thousand hills, there rise to this day from sixty to eighty tombs, among which three huge round tumuli stand pre-eminent. The smallest of these is 2000 feet in the circuit and 110 feet in height; the largest is more than 3500 feet, and rises about 230 feet above the plain. Under this mound, right opposite the acropolis of Sardis, rested king Alyattes. The Lydians preferred to bury their dead in chambers of rock; where these were not to be had, they buried them in chambers of strong masonry, over which were placed layers of stone in a circle, to be finally crowned with the sepulchral tumulus. In the same manner, only on a larger scale, the tombs of the kings were prepared; and the statements of Herodotus about the origin of the mound of Alyattes may have a foundation in so far as the zeal of the people helped to raise it higher than[Pg 444] the tombs of his predecessors. In the tomb of Alyattes the flat elevation of rock was changed into a large circular surface, but northwards the natural rock was allowed to remain. On this wall of rock, to the south of the centre of the circle, the sepulchral chamber of Alyattes was made to extend. It was built of large greyish-white blocks of marble, beautifully polished. These were cut with the greatest regularity, and carefully fitted to each other, and united still more firmly by dovetails of molten lead. The length of this quadrangular chamber is ten feet, the breadth six feet, the height is more than six feet. The entrance lies on the south side towards Sardis. This entrance was kept accessible by a portico, which was also paved with squares of marble, furnished on either side with blocks of marble as high as the door, and vaulted over with hewn stones of irregular and angular shapes. The sepulchral chamber and portico were then surrounded by masonry, which filled up the entire area of the circle and was carried up to the same height as the sepulchral chamber and the rock behind it. On this surface the funeral ceremonies were held, and sacrifices offered, as is proved by a layer of cinders two feet thick, which lies on the marble squares of the roof of the sepulchral chamber. When the burial was over, the door of the chamber was closed by marble blocks fitted into it, and other heavy blocks were laid in front of these for the portico. After this the masonry, in order to bear the mound better, was raised above the height of the chamber; and last of all the mound was piled up in regular layers, a layer of lime mixed with sand and large stones, a thinner layer of clay, a layer of earth of equal thickness, on which was again placed a layer of lime and sand broken with large stones. Finally the point of the mound was sur[Pg 445]mounted with strong masonry of huge stones, the five pillars of Herodotus, on